Field Recordings Tommy Town Carignan 2019Powerfully aromatic and wildly savory
I have been following the antics of California viticulturalist and winemaker Andrew Jones for some time. He’s a wizard with planting vineyards and tending vines, and does it for some of the best in the business. His talent for vineyard management was so renowned that he got encouraged to break out on his own and start making some wine on the side, and the rest is history. He’s now one of the most prominent winemakers in Paso Robles, has created multiple brands, and owns one of the most unique and press-worthy canned wine operations in America. He’s brought us such delights as Be Kind Unwind Pinot Gris (the Blockbuster one) and Hans Grüner (the Die Hard one).
More importantly, he’s planted a flag for sustainable, conscientious viticulture in Paso Robles, a part of California often making high-octane red wines with gobs of new oak. Nothing particularly “wrong” with those wines, but they aren’t always the picture of elegance. Andrew has chosen to stick with off-the-beaten-path grape varieties and a more hands-off winemaking approach. He isn’t pumping his vineyards and his wines full of steroids in order to get higher point scores from the critics.
Andrew sent us a pack of six of his small-production wines that only got made in 100-200 case quantities, a minuscule amount even for a small winery. The Tommy Town Carignan shone brightly amongst the group, and we were able to obtain 1/6th of everything that got produced for this cuvée, offered as an exclusive to Crunchy Red Fruit Circle members.
Tommy Town is a unique vineyard, tucked into the hills of the Happy Canyon area above Santa Barbara county. It’s part of a larger ranch that raises racehorses and wine grapes. Andrew makes wines from several areas in California, and has singled this vineyard out for several vintages as one of his favorite spots on the coast. The Carignan from Tommy Town Vineyard is powerfully aromatic and wildly savory. Carbonic maceration helps create bright cheery red fruit notes and herbal scents, and a short stint in large American oak barrels rounds out the texture of this Carignan.
This wine leads with notes of fresh green peppercorn, liquid smoke, crisp brisket ends and roasted thyme. It’s a perfect study in “non-fruit” aromas. There’s some red cherry and green fig notes here, but they’re subsumed by chaotic, igneous volcanic aromas that almost feel out of place in a wine. This wine makes a statement and wants you to take it on its own terms. It’s not meant for a white tablecloth restaurant. It’s meant for a truck tailgate, with meats being cooked over an open fire nearby.
- Blend100% Carignan
- AppellationHappy Canyon of Santa Barbera