Sunday, August 2, 2009

TN: Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVII

Sean Thackrey Pleiades XVII is a wine that really defies ratings or criticism. The wine maker, Sean Thackery, apparently is a scholarly fellow whose winemaking is guided by ancient texts. In other words, this is outside-the-box wine. If you have any doubts, though, consider the blend: a non-vintage mix of Sangiovese, Syrah, Viognier, Mourvedre, Rousanne, Barbera, Carignane and probably other varietals as well.

Once opened, I can confirm this is a certifiably strange wine. It smells unmistakably of bananas that are turning brown. Not rotten bananas, but certainly those verging on the level of maturity one would desire for banana bread. But that's not all. There are medicinal menthol-lyptus aromas. It's rumored that Thackrey ferments his wine in a eucalyptus grove, so perhaps this shouldn't be too surprising. Love or hate--I fell on the not so into this camp--no other wine smells like this, that's for sure. I was more disappointed, however, in the generic fruit-bomb flavors it had to offer. The acidity seemed especially low. Given that it's common to add acid to wine in California, you can bet that a hands-off winemaker will not "correct" this problem. The consequence is a flabby, unstructured wine, though if you are philosophically in favor of minimal intervention, then this is a virtue.

Fascinating nose and eminently gulpable, but not what I'd consider an excellent wine. Still, I'd recommend it as an interesting one-off experience even though it's definitely not a re-buy for me. It's not a wine I can knock because intention is important in this context, kind of like how an imperfect art film is more fulfilling than a technically correct Hollywood production.

Score: Not Applicable
Price: $23 from K&L Wines

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