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24 January 2010

California: Frey Vineyards - Redwood Valley

Paul Frey at this year's (2010)
Millésime Bio show
Not only was Paul Frey the lone winemaker from California at this year's (2010) Millésime Bio wine fair in Montpellier, but the Freys also claim to be pioneers in several other things: America's first organic winery, "sulphite-free for 28 years," first maker of certified Biodynamic ® Wines in the US... So, quite a lot to live up to when I tried the wines below on their stand and talked to Paul. Did they deliver? Well, yes, although some of them show a wild, natural, old-fashioned even kind of intense style that certain textbook, squeaky-clean winemakers might call faulty: maybe technically correct, but there's something exciting and living about these flavoursome wines, as you'll see from my notes. Overall, the Frey family has around 50 ha or 124 acres of organic and biodynamic vineyards in Mendocino County. According to their website, it's tough titty for readers and organic wine fans in the UK, as they only appear to be distributed in northern Europe in Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark; but they're widely available in the US and Canada of course! So, a good excuse to go to the winery some day yourself...
2009 Sauvignon Blanc - herby vs peachy nose, crisp vs oily palate; elegant and long, different too. 87+
2009 Chardonnay - exotic oily style with lively mineral bite, crisp and intense finish. 87+
2006 "Biodynamic" Zinfandel - savoury/sweet almost Pinot Noir style nose, earthy vs ripe and fruity palate; bit like old Burgundy! 87
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon - smoky leathery aromas, lush vs grippy mouthfeel with dark smoky finish; not sure but interesting anyway. 87?
2007 Syrah (North Coast) - meaty vs spicy dark cherry fruit; lighter style but still attractive with minty, fruity and toasty/smoky finish. 87+
2005 "Biodynamic" Syrah - dark toasty liquorice vs pepper notes; lush vs firm and sweet vs savoury palate, maturing vs still alive on the finish. 90+
2007 Petite Sirah - wild herbs and burnt plums, funky northern Rhone-ish styling; rich "tar" with cloves undertones vs dry yet rounded tannins, wow. 89

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