Thursday, 8 August 2013

The Rebels of Wine Making

Many of us here in the Vinespire team and I am sure many of you reading this place serious wine making and intellectual wine tasting under the categories of ‘snobby’ or ‘posh’. Believing they are things only done by people born into the trade or those with enough money to afford the top Burgundies or the Bordeaux 1st Growths.


I have to admit, I love sitting around discussing fine wine and pontificating on the complexities and textures of certain grape varieties. However, nothing excites me more in the world of wine than people who flip this whole conception on its head and create something totally unique, inspiring and damn right awesome. I don’t think anyone captures this free spirit as much as Christian Tietje and his team at Four Vines Winery, California.

For those of you who are fans of Oz Clarke & James May’s journeys around the world, you may have already encountered them in their California, Paso Robles Episode (available here on Youtube).

This bunch of hedonistic bikers founded Four Vines back in 1994, and they have gained a huge reputation for their intense, no holds barred, rock and roll wines. With names such as ‘Maverick’, ‘Naked Chardonnay’ (as it has no oak) and ‘Anarchy’, they blow away wine poncery with a twist of the throttle and a blast from the exhaust, literally. As you may have guessed, these guys love bikes, tattooes and leather. They even match their wines to the bikes they own!

It is safe to say, Four Vines is not your average Winery. Tastings held at break neck speed, surrounded by hairy, leather clad, tattooed men may not be everyone’s cup of tea (wine). But it is part and parcel of what makes this Winery so brilliant. They have influenced their wine by the way they live, rather than having their lives influenced by the wine they make.

Known mainly for their punchy Zinfandels, they describe their wines as having ‘legendary blackberry aromas’ and a ‘sexy nose’ which echoes their punk rock image. But lets not take it away from them, they are skilled wine makes and know just what they want and how to achieve it. However, in a way it is not about the wine itself, it is what it stands for. I like great wine, but the wine I love the most is wine that has meaning, heart and shouts its name from the rooftops. By doing this, the only pontification is about past times, life and love of wine rather than discussions of terroir and other such drivel. That is Four Vines right down to the leather under-garments, and that, as Oz states in the video, 'is wine tasting'. 

Their wines are available widely across America but are sadly harder to get hold of across the pond. However, this really is a winery to follow. Even if you can’t get hold of their wine just yet, whack on The Clash and appreciate the method, however much madness it involves. Hopefully, London’s Calling for Four Vines. 

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