Skip to main content

Bill Frick: The One Man Band [Part Two]

"Life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains, blowing like a roads take me home, to the place I belong, Dry Creek Valley!" ~ John Denver

You never know who you'll meet on the wine road, it was just last month that I met Bill Frick for the first time. It's funny how I don't pick the places I'll end up going, it's all in destiny's hands. I'm not sure he knew what to make of me, as I peppered him with questions about his winery and his exclusive use of American Oak. But after taking the nickel tour, seeing his operation, crush-pad and combination barrel room, we moseyed over to the tasting room to pop some corks, and that is where the fun, got started. I'm pretty sure I tasted every label he had, we even agreed a few needed to be tossed, bottles that were opened already, that had quietly expired, with only a recently pulled cork holding back the oxygen. 

That said, it was a great pleasure getting to know Mr. Frick, who was not as forthcoming as I would have hoped. But after tasting through a couple wines, and allowing a few, 'wows' loose, we starting to chat about his wine and the approach he takes to winemaking, as a one-man band. If I had to sum it up all in one sentence, his methods are simple and timeless, no fooling around, take care of the vineyards, and just allow the grapes to speak for themselves, in each and every vintage. I like that approach, and I believe I can see it, smell it and taste it in every wine I sample and spit out. When wine is made like that, I just know it. 

Like a bloodhound on the scent of an escaped convict, I can pick a winner out of any group of wines; which is why I knew just a few minutes into to tasting Frick's wines I was in for a good tasting. Bill Frick is not about "winning" [Charlie Sheen style] or big wine scores, he just feels fortunate to be making wine and living the wine country lifestyle. As for me, I'm all about picking winners and bringing them to the attention of my readers, because when it comes to wine, I want everyone to drink well and prosper. 

You'll see this sign above pointing the way to the tasting room, once you exit your vehicle in the dirt parking lot, where you'll see some ancient Garibaldi vines waiting to greet you. One of the exciting aspects of Frick's tasting room is that the tasting is free of charge, not a common practice in today's wine culture. If you plan to show up with a caravan of vino sapiens [more than six] or in a stretch limo of howling [twenty somethings] hens, this not the place for you. But as their website explains, Frick has a tiny tasting room [which I can vouch for], and they are glad to welcome groups of up to six at a time, and appointments are not offered, so please be sure to visit during the posted tasting room hours. You'll be so happy you did. 

2012 Frick Viognier: In the picture, you can see the year, you can also see the 14.9% abv, which is pretty heady for any white wine. A bouquet of floral aromas jumps from the glass, honey, and bourbon like perfume scenting the air above the glass. On the palate, it's fat and round, white flowers, crisp pear, decent acid and a long sensuous finish. My score 86 points. 

2012 Frick Grenache Blanc:  On the nose plenty of fun floral notes and a drop of honey. It's a medium-bodied wine, with a mouth-filling profile on the palate. Rich, textured and with plenty of fruit, yet it manages to stay clean and light on the palate and is a downright fun wine to sample. My score 88 points. 

2012 Dry Rose Mourvedre: Dried rose petals, peach pits, plum skins, strawberries, the flesh of almost ripe plum, vivid minerality, and a layered, long, dry finish. My Score: 87 points. 

2011 Frick Mourvedre, Owl Hill Vineyard: Bottled with no fining and/or filtering, as you can see from the ABV 12.5% that vintage variation has much to do with the high or low of the ABV. For anyone paying attention, 2011 was the year we [the west coast] had no summer, and it rained often. It was the same for much of France, Spain, and Italy as well. So if you prefer wines with lower ABV, may I suggest you secure all the 2011 bottles you can get your hands on, and you're welcome. Now that said, this wine was quite good. I'm a big fan of Mourvedre, especially 100 percent. A very sexy perfumed nose, of earth, strawberries, and meat. On the palate smoked strawberries, smoked meats, dried rich, recently broken earth and balanced fruit to acid balance. For fans of austerity in wine, this is your dream. My score 89 points. SRP: $26

2010 Frick Grenache Noir, Conley Vineyard: As you can see this wine has a bit of age on it, and it's also sporting a pretty hefty abv at 15.5%, but I think the time has softened those youthful indiscretions, seeing I found this wine pretty light, lean and rustic. It's not really as up in your face as the ABV may suggest it would be, so relax. Pop the cork on this bad-boy and here's what you'll find, orange rinds, toasted strawberries, cracked black peppercorns, and cedar. Medium body and finish. Again a lot less fruit-driven than you'd expect, but still a tasty wine to enjoy with just about anything you could imagine. My score 86 points. SRP $26

2011 Frick Cinsaut: [Pronounced Sin-So] You just don't see much 100% Cinsault anywhere, and this one is well worth your time and attention. This wine came to me as a sample. I tasted this wine while I there in the tasting room and again back at Chez Vino. Both times I was impressed, the tannins are silk, well integrated and it has the perfect acid to fruit balance, so many vintners talk about, but so few wines achieve. As you can see in the glass there, a dark ruby color, blackberries, broken earth and peppercorns fill the air above the glass. On the palate, meaty strawberries, roasted coffee beans, ripe blackberries, and a finish that just sails on and on. This wine was aged in 100% American Appalachian Oak, 3rd or 4th use, and procured from a local cooper. My score for this wine 91 points. SRP $26

2010 CÔTE-DU-Dry Creek: A delicious red blend composed of Syrah 40%, Grenache 40% Cinsault 20%. I do love that name, I thought it was reminiscent of the Southern Rhone. I asked him if he registered that name and said, "yep, sure did" I told him, "that's a smart move" and he shrugged his shoulders, like "duh" of course. I told him he should sell it, so more folks could use it to sell Syrah to the unsuspecting masses. There are some folks, who for some reason don't like the name of the grape, but once it's in their mouths, they want more of it. Now that said, this wine is very good, well balanced and brimming with ripe fruit, blackberries, dark cherries, tobacco, vanilla, cracked black pepper, licorice and pleasant floral aromas. Nicely textured slides across the palate like a gunboat on the Hudson. Don't let the high ABV scare you away, you barely even notice the minor heat. I think all the red wines sell for the same price, SRP $26. I gave this wine a score of 90 points, it's a keeper, enjoy.

Until next time folks remember life is short, so skip the same old commodity wines and you wine bloggers out there, feel free to skip a few helpings from the sample train now and then, sip long and prosper all cheers!


Popular posts from this blog

Champagne Uncorked: A Visit to Champagne Louis Roederer

“I'll drink your champagne. I'll drink every drop of it, I don't care if it kills me.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby Girls
My first trip to Champagne, was for me, a complete success. I came away from the trip with a brand new appreciation and a deeper desire to get to know it so much better. With each trip to France, I come away with a profound new respect for the country and its people. I've become a Francophile. A place, I barely knew or understood twelve years ago, back before I started this wine journey I'm currently on. I know this will sound cliched, but I like to think of wine as a journey, it's not a destination.

Each stone you overturn on the pathway to discovery develops greater understanding and appreciation not only for the wine but for the great folks behind these labels, who bring great traditions and passion to the table. It's evident in what they say, how they say it and oh-so-evident in the final product, passion is a sure 'seller' a…

Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Wine Buys

"The three things that make a vineyard great are the climate, the soil, and the exposure. Bien Nacido Vineyard ~ James Ontiveros  

Another wonderful year is nearly ready to put in the can and stored away for posterity. But every year at this time we collectively take the time-out to give a "thanks" for our many blessings.Every year at this time, I give my Top Five Thanksgiving Holiday Wine 'picks' and this year is no exception. I know my post is a bit "danger" close for those wanting to stock up for the holiday, but this short and sweet guide is for the procrastinators who've waited for the last minute to hear about five Oregon Pinot Noir selections to brighten up their holiday menus for Thursdays big feast. 

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is known as a 'mecca' of sorts, where powerful, yet delicate, soulful Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay is grown, fermented, aged and bottled. I've recently become a resident of this state, much t…

A Spoonful of Social Media

“You can buy attention [advertising]. You can beg for attention from the media [PR], or you can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” –David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker

It was just about four years ago in downtown Paso Robles that Mrs. Cuvee and I were visiting the area, which we try to do as often as possible. We love to hit the wine trail nice and early, but before we head out for the day, we make it a point to have a big breakfast. Since we were staying at the Paso Robles Inn, we thought we'd have breakfast there at least once, the food was tasty, the service was excellent, and the coffee was hot. 

Just one thing was missing that morning; there were no spoons, yes you heard me right, not even a single spoon anywhere to stir cream and sugar into my coffee. We looked at the tables behind us, nothing, we looked into the server station, t…