The Source and Sink Red Field Blend 2018 is a blend of 65% Petite Sirah, 25% Alicante Bouschet, and 10% Carignan sourced from the Dunbar Ranch vineyard located near Glen Ellen in the Sonoma Valley region of California. Source and Sink is a new wine company, I think this is their first vintage. The company was formed by 2 Chicago guys who met during the 2017 harvest in Sonoma and decided to put together a wine project.
When you have a new, small wine company such as Source and Sink it is hard to compete directly with the big corporate wine behemoths, so you need to do your homework and be clever. They search out small overlooked, almost forgotten Sonoma vineyards to source their grapes. Some of these vineyards come from Hobby farms others were going concerns years ago but have had parcels sold off due to urban sprawl. The Dunbar Ranch is situated in the heart of the Sonoma Valley, but it isn’t a large commercial vineyard.
The parcel of grapes that Source and Sink purchased had been planted to be a Field Blend. A Field Blend is when specific varietals of grapes are planted in the same section of the vineyard. I was told that back in the day farmers would plant many different grapes to see which varieties would thrive and which wouldn’t. They would pick the grapes when the majority were of proper ripeness and then crush the grapes and ferment them all together. The proportions of the blend were decided by Mother Nature. If one grape had a big yield and another didn’t, well, that was what the vineyard gave them.
The Source and Sink website mentioned that Dunbar Ranch Field Blend section was planted to also include Zinfandel grapes in the blend, but the Zinfandel grapes seem to have gone elsewhere. Sometimes wines with Field Blend on the label are not actual Field Blends, but more of a homage to the old ways to blend wine. While Source and Sink do not get specific with the technical details they seem to be dedicated to letting the vineyards lead the way. They use the least evasive winemaking techniques that can get away with. These are not wines that use a focus group to get the blend right, this is Old School California winemaking.
Petite Sirah is originally from France but now is found mainly in California and Australia. It is used in countless Red blends and is often used to add a little something to Zinfandel wines. Alicante Bouschet is also a French grape that again is rarely seen in France but is widely used in Portugal and Spain. And Carignan is a grape widely used in southeast France and Spain. So this blend will not be your typical North Coast Blend, but something a little different.
One of the reasons Field Blend fell out of style was that it was difficult to get the different grapes to ripen at the same time. With some vintages, the timing might be perfect and other vintages more problematic. The wines could vary in flavor and quality from year to year, and if you notice vintage variations are often not very noticeable with todays California wine. The Source and Sink Field Blend has an alcohol content of 12.8% and it isn’t uncommon for a Sonoma Red wine to see 14.5% alcohol. I’m guessing here, but is 12.8% the point where most of the grapes reached their ideal ripeness? Anyway, I am looking forward to a taste of how California Red Blend used to be.
Field Blend Tasting Notes
The color is seriously deep and dark. The nose is rich and spicy, there is blackberry, plum, black pepper, spice, a hint of smoke and sweet raspberry. This is a wine that hits all areas of your palate with bright fruit and spice, nothing out of balance, but definitely not shy. It starts with ripe blackberry, a slap of not sweet licorice and Altoids spice, black pepper, and a meaty mushroom thing. The mid-palate adds a creamy texture, along with strawberry, and orange zest. This is a long and lean Red blend with loads of flavor. The tannins are sweet that acidity gives solid length and the finish is full and keeps rolling along.
- This isn’t a wine that I expect will be easy for most people to find. It is from a brand new company probably producing a limited amount of wine. The winemakers are from Chicago so it is available around here (Binny’s)
- I found it for $15.99 its list on the website for $28, so this isn’t a typical CheapWineFinder review.
- The point here isn’t simply that this is a wine that tastes great and is worth searching for, it is. The point is that there are all sorts of hidden gems out there. Small wineries searching out of the way vineyards and producing unique wines that don’t cost a small fortune.
- In the usual price range, we write about you get mainly corporate wines and I am not complaining, they are responsible for the availability of highly enjoyable wines at very cheap prices. Wine has never been better than it is today, the Romans and the Greeks wish they were as lucky as us.
- Just remember that there are small production unique and wonderful wines on store shelves that are easy to overlook, they may be a little out of your usual price range, but they are actually underpriced for what they are.
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