Chris has often used this label to highlight Valdiguié as a single variety wine. The change for this year came from a desire to use a couple of vintages (2018/19) of Mission from Lodi that he had been holding onto. Coupled with a bit of 2020 Carignan from Mendocino and Solano counties that seemed to partner well, and you’ve set up a wonderful base. From there came some Cabernets Pfeffer and Franc, as well as Syrah and Zinfandel to give the wine all of the necessary components, and a completely new thing was born. The secondary fruit that wound up in this wine would normally have gone to other bottlings, but quantities were limited by the 2020 fires.
Of course, this begs a question from a kind of wine that has based itself off of absolute drinkability: can you age these styles of wine? We assume these wines are meant to drink now and drink fast. I certainly had questions, but never really a doubt. Chris ties these varieties together in such a fantastic way that adding a touch of mystery by way of multi-vintage Mission is one of the more pleasant discoveries I’ve had this year. Fruit driven, but mature -- this wine shows a development that belies its humble origins. In a lot of ways, I think that like rosé, some of these fresher styles of red wine could benefit from an extra year in bottle, or in this case, a producer holding back a couple of vintages and blending. So with regards to that question: with the right wine and the right winemaker, the answer can be yes. Balance is such an important word when it comes to wine, and I believe that Chris Brockway is one of the best examples of a producer who is constantly striking balance in his wines. He sets high standards for himself, and with that comes expectations from the outside, but he is constantly working within himself and on his own abilities to constantly give us something to appreciate.