It was one of those serendipitous moments, which wine drinkers patiently wait to experience – the discovery of a wine you’ve never heard of, never seen, never tasted.
And when you do taste it, the wine blows off the doors, easily becoming your Favorite New Wine Discovery of the Year.
Such was the case with L. (shorthand for Lou) Preston Rhone Red.
Let me explain.
Napaman headed over to Sonoma County, feeling rather Napa-centric in recent story coverage.
I had in mind a visit to Lou Preston’s organic farm in Dry Creek, mostly to taste his Syrah, which a local Napa Valley winemaker had recently mentioned “is still as good as ever.”
So I headed west, up and over the Mayacamas range.
Just north and west of Healdsburg, in Dry Creek, Lou and Susan Preston operate a sweet family farm, where they grow organic produce and make wine from organic estate grapes.
I conducted a brief tasting; I liked the 2007 Preston Carignane, and really liked the 2006 Preston Syrah… and then, upon tasting the L. Preston Rhone Red, I slapped my forehead so hard that I nearly got whiplash. Now THAT’S a wine worth the hour’s drive to Dry Creek!
The 2007 L. Preston Rhone Red is a stylish combination of Rhone grapes. The blend, according to the winery team, is 60% Syrah, 21% Cinsault, 10% Carignane and 5% Mourvedre. Yes, you're correct, it doesn't add up to 100%, so you have to have faith that the remainder of the blend includes 2% each of inspiration and dedication.
I scored this gorgeous, $34, juicy red wine 93 points. It is full of deep, rich fruit flavors, is beautifully balanced, and expertly focused. It is not possible to stop at a sip; it’s one of those wines you can’t spit out. You have to swallow; it’s just too good to waste.
Susan Preston has suggested this pairing: “I have a cookbook library that goes on and on, but for the exotic taste of North Africa, or the Middle East, I choose Paula Wolfert. The whirl of flavors in L. Preston would pair nicely with the sweet/sour/herbal notes of Paula's crispy roast squab, crusted with coriander, cumin and salt and splashed with a bit of raspberry vinegar.”
Sounds good, Susan. Call when the squab is done and I'll be right over.
The 2007 L. Preston Rhone Red, $34, is available at Preston Winery, 9282 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg, CA 95448. Tel: 707-433-3372.
The tasting room is open daily 11 am to 4.30 pm. And when they say “4.30 pm,” they mean it! No hanging around, no matter how much you love their wine and no matter how much of it you buy!