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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Coloring outside the vines, Four Vines 2006 Anarchy

Anarchism . . . stands for direct action, the open defiance of, and resistance to, all laws and restrictions, economic, social, and moral. Emma Goldman (1869 - 1940).

But in the case of the Four Vines 2006 Paso Robles Red Blend Anarchy you find the wisdom of not always following the rules or coloring inside the lines. This is one of the wines known for being a "unconventional" Rhone style blend, one that my wife and I picked up on our Paso Road trip in 2008.

This was one winery on our list which we had to stop by for a tasting and we are glad we did. When we arrived it was early mid-week and the open sign still read closed! Undaunted we pulled around the small building, which they share with another winery and preceded inside. A small tasting room, but well appointed, with some of the vineyard soil samples of the various vineyards on display. They sell some shirts which reflect their mantra of unconventionality and the tasting glasses feature the Reidel "O" glass for a $10.00 fee. Btw, these glasses sell retail for that price and don't include the wine. So a pretty good deal in my estimation.

Four Vines got started in 1996, it's a partnership headed by winemaker Christian Tietje, and are mainly known for there specialization in Zinfandel. The Zin fruit is sourced from a number of regions – Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lodi, Amador, and of course the westside of Paso Robles. They also make several other wines including Chardonnay, Syrah, and a number of blends, both traditional and unconventional, which they call their "Freakshow" wines of which the the 2006 Four Vines Anarchy falls into this category. Their Four Vines '04 Petite Sirah, "The Heretic", made the 2007 Wine Spectator Top 100. The "Naked" Chardonnay (which I not a huge fan of) and Old Vine Zinfandel Cuvée make up most of the 45,000 case annual production, while most of their other wines are made on a much smaller production scale, thus attributing a more boutique quality and as a result are difficult, but not impossible to acquire and appears they (blends) are the wines I seem to like the best.

First Swirl: In the glass the wine has ruby core and lightly colored cerise colored rim. Not as fully extracted as I expected it would be, but none-the-less a brilliant crisp appearance.

First Sniff: I was amazed at the complex but lightly perfumed nose, vibrant, highly nuanced aromas of raspberry, dark cherry, tobacco, minerals, and black pepper.

First Sip: Immediately my palate felt the attack of rich, supple, silky-sweet and lively ripeness of brisk bramble berry flavors, with a slight chocolaty under pinning . This is what I would call a sharply delineated and well structured. The finish is persistent but firm, rounding out with a youthful edge of acidity contributing true grip.

Vineyards: The blend is based on Old Vine Zin, Syrah and Mourvedre all sourced from Paso Robles according to Winemaker Christian Tietje and self admitted Zin Bitch. Which exact blocks and vineyards are unknown.

Composition: The 2006 Anarchy blend makeup features 32% Syrah, 36% Mourvedre and replacing the "traditional" Grenache is some Old Vine Zin making up 32% of the blend.

Alcohol: The 2006 weighed in at a respectable 15%, with no noticeable hotness.

Pricing : In the tasting room without a club discount this wine retails for about $40.00 each and else where on the web it can be found anywhere from $32.00 to $38.00 each. What I would call a fair price based on availability, case production and overall quality.


Recommendation: A well made medium priced wine. If you like Rhone style wines and would like to try something unconventional with a slight hedonistic edge than this wine is for you. The price point puts it just a bit outside the everyday drinker category, but definitely a wine to have a few hanging around for weekend occasions. If you are in the area stop by and see them, it's worth the experience. Until next time Cheers everyone!
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