Grapelive: Wine of the Day January 5, 2019

nv Sean Thackrey, Pleiades XXVI Old Vines Red, California -photo grapelive

n.v. Sean Thackrey “Pleiades XXVI Old Vines” Red Blend, California.
The aging rock star looking Sean Thackrey, a self taught winemaker, is a counter culture legend in the wine world who sources grapes only from hillside old vine vineyards, mostly in the Sonoma and Napa regions using unconventional methods and ancient techniques to make is famous hand crafted wines. Along with luminaries like Alice Waters and Kermit Lynch, Sean Thackrey has been deeply linked to the shaping of the Bay Area food & wine scene and has for about 3 or more decades, starting his own label back in 1980. This release of Pleiades Old Vine red from Sean Thackrey is more fruit forward than most prior versions, and certainly with less funky menthol and oxidative notes than I remember, but still giving its unique weirdness and pleasures that have become expected from this iconic red blend from the man from Bolinas. As noted by Thackrey, this twenty-sixth edition of Pleiades and it includes Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Zinfandel and Syrah, to name but a few of the grapes blended in this non-vintage, non-traditional and old school wine that purposely goes against the mainstream appealing to the eccentric and the adventurous wine drinkers. Thackrey’s signature wine is his Orion which is an old vine field blend from a single parcel in Napa Valley and mostly Syrah, this is a wine that every wine lover needs to put on their bucket list, while this Pleiades is everyday table wine, usually lighter and more rustic in style. That said, this batch is more round and smooth than most releases and it shows layers of full flavors that cascade across the medium/full palate with racy plum, brandied cherries, spiced raspberry and fig fruits along with a touch of oak, mocha, lavender and a mix of earthy tones, spices, pipe tobacco and dried Italian herbs. This XXVI is pretty ripe and feels low acid in the mouth, though structure seems nicely balanced if not opulent and lush, best to enjoy this one with food and I may not recommend additional cellaring, it looks ready to go, drink now through 2022.
($24 Est.) 88 Points, grapelive