2020 Slamdance Koöperatieve Wines, Native Wine of California Red, Central Coast, California.
Winemaker, Daniel Callan’s first release under his personal label, Slamdance Koöperatieve Wines is a tribute to old school California wine and is a highly entertaining quaffer made from mainly Valdiguie, Cinsault and Negrette, along with a few other obscure all old rarities in California and are sourced from sustainable vineyards in lesser known but historic areas in parts of the state’s Central Coast. Made like a Cru Beaujolais with lots of whole cluster and semi-carbonic methods this 2020 Red Table Wine, luckily missed out on the vintage’s terrible fires and grape wreaking smoke taint, showing bright red fruits, floral and early aromatics along with a spicy zippy freshness. Callan, who is the assistant winemaker at Paso Robles winery, Thacher, is already getting a lot of shout outs from his peers and who has more than a dozen harvests behind him looks to be a talent to watch out for and his debut release is a deliciously fun bottle. The lighter framed medium bodied 2020 Slamdance Koöperatieve red delivers vivid layers of crushed berries, plum, strawberry and Italian cherry fruits that are accented by shaved cinnamon, tangy herbs, peony, anise seed and a nice raw umami crunchiness, it certainly highlights the Valiguie flavor profile to good effect and like a Beaujolais it benefits from a slight chill and will be fabulous with outdoor or Summer meals. Made in a very natural style this wine reminds me a little of Jolie-Laide’s wines, especially their Trousseau, Pfeffer and Gamay blend and Michael Cruse’s Monkey Jacket or Lapierre’s Julienas Cru Beaujolais, meaning Callan is doing something right!

Daniel Callan lives in Paso Robles where he works, but has searched out unique vines to made his wine, including the Shell Creek Vineyard that was established back in 1875, the Glenrose Vineyard that was planted in 1989 and the geeky cool Siletto Vineyard, farmed by the Siletto family in the wilds of San Benito, with a mix of limestone and granite soils and some cool and unique varietals grown there. The low alcohol, at about 12.8%, and juicy acidity here in this sunny ruby hued Red makes for a delightful experience and without any trace of oak, allows for the wine’s slightly rustic side and lithe tannins to shine through, which is welcome to balance the fruit and floral details. This wine is very different from the dense and inky wines of Paso Robles and Callan is taking his own path, like many others of his generation are doing and Im really excited to see what he does in the next few years with his Slamdance Koöperatieve wines, especially after tasting this vintage. This focus on these weird and wild grapes which have their own old California names, Napa Gamay (Valdiguie), a grape with origins in the southwest of France and was mistaken for a clone of Gamay until recent DNA testing, Black Malvoisie (Cinsault), a Rhone varietal also found in the Languedoc and Provence regions and Pinot St. George (Négrette), a rare black grape from the Fronton region of France with has been made famous by the De Rose family in the Cienega Valley. This path less traveled and collection of grapes, which also may include Crabb’s Black Burgundy, and Cabernet Pfeffer, has produced a very successful result for Callan, and for those lucky enough get some bottles, which highly recommend for those that are seeking out something adventurous and different.
($42 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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