In the nearly three decades that I have been involved in the wine trade I have been fortunate to have met many of the icons of the business. One of the most interesting characters has certainly been Patrick Campbell. A practicing Zen buddhist; semi professional cellist; socialist philosopher and brilliant winemaker, I have enjoyed the fruits of his labours for some time – first with Laurel Glen Vineyards a legendary Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard and now with his Tierra Divina Vineyards (both in Lodi, California and Mendoza, Argentina).
Campbell is a champion of so-called family “heritage vineyards”. By definition, these are vineyards that have been tended by three or more generations utilizing sustainable agricultural practices. Old vines that can grow “naturally,” set just the right amount of crop and canopy without a lot of interference – like irrigation, leaf thinning, cluster dropping, etc. – are what sets Lodi apart, according to Campbell. This is why he chooses to work in Lodi and Mendoza (where he works primarily with Malbec grapes): “in both places, I find old vineyards, old farming families, less ego…”
But these “heritage vineyards are not good because they are old,” Campbell reminds us. “They are old because they are good; roots run deep and guard them against variables of each year – hot weather, cold weather, drought, rain, rot. Over time, heritage vineyards ‘learn’ long-term survival skills. They generally produce very moderate crops, but the fruit invariably has a flavor integrity and depth that younger vines cannot produce without a lot of intervention.”
On offer this week is the 2013 Reds. This wine begins in some of the oldest vineyards in California. The Carignan vines are 130+ years old, Zinfandel is 90+ years old, and just a splash of a youngster Petite Sirah (only 50+ years old) is added for colour and depth. The wine is fermented in steel, and there is a minimum use of oak in the cellar to keep the flavours and aromas pure fruit.
To your continued good health!
$21.75 btl / $261.00 cs (case of 12 x 750ml)
Deep rich colour; quite saturated and concentrated. On the nose a melange of ripe black and red fruits. In the mouth the wine is medium bodied, soft and round with dark berries, spice, and touches of bramble. Impresseive effort!
Drink: Now – 2018
Food Pairing: Will drink nicely with rich pasta dishes, burgers, pizza – even curry!