In almost every vintage there is a Syrah-based barrel of singular and complete character that deserves to stand alone and shine. Since 2010, we have bottled those barrels as the wine we call 1/1. Each of these limited bottlings tells the compelling story of its breed, vintage, and the soil in which it grew with elegance and impeccable style. One of One – Singular; 1/1 – a full measure.
As is always the case, 1/1 is the barrel that I fell in love with on “first encounter”, and which kept my undivided attention throughout it’s two-year journey to bottling. Unusual and strong characters are always the most interesting to me, and this one is no different. It is the most idiosyncratic and mysterious of the 2015s, with ample elegance, loads of pure fruit and flowers, and qualities like those of smoked meat and the dark crust of an epic sourdough loaf from San Francisco’s Tartine bakery. If a person, 2015 1/1 would be a dark-haired, green-eyed movie star from the black and white days, in a red velvet dress giving you a wink before she turns to leave you standing there like a little boy…
Food: Sophisticated but assertive – if meat, then lean and rare, like venison with stewed cherries orprunes and Spätzle would be great; if not, then sautéed mushrooms (like chanterelles or porcini) on toasted sourdough or buttered egg noodles; in either case, some lightly dressed peppery greens.
Music: Dance With Waves – Anouar Brahem; Poinciana – Ahmad Jamal; Moonlight Serenade – The Glenn Miller Experience; Fall in Love – BadBadNotGood
Details: Depressing as it was to pick only half a ton of Syrah from this 1.5 acre own-rooted Estrella Syrah block in Sta. Rita Hills, we knew it had to be great (and to be honest, I had pretty much picked it as my favorite before it even went into barrel. Fermented with 80% whole cluster, with tiny additions of Grenache and Viognier from nearby vineyards, and raised for 2 years in a single thick-staved Ermitage “cigar” (shaped) barrel, there is obviously very little of this delicious elixir…grab it while it’s there!
As usual, 1/1 is made from a single barrel and is thus the most limited production wine of the vintage. Frequently misunderstood: contrary to convention for California wines, 1/1 does not attempt to win your admiration with sheer power and heft. 1/1 is an athlete whose well-proportioned body combines strength with lightness and speed, whose soul feeds on unwavering determination, and whose mind is of keen intellect and quick wit. This is the kind of athlete who manages to disguise fierce effort in the graceful movements of a ballet dancer – whether it’s skiing the Italian Alps, racing cars on the Isle of Man, or bicycles through the French countryside, or throwing a discus every four years at the Olympics. Sometimes out-muscled by competitors the athlete doesn’t win every contest, but is always the most enjoyable to watch …float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…
Composition: Syrah with about 7% Viognier and 3% Grenache (combination of Bien Nacido and John Sebastiano Vineyards), raised in a single, once-used 300L Jarnac hogs head barrel.
Music: “Blue 7” by Sonny Rollins, “Riot” by Miles Davis, and the entire “Sugar” album by Stanley Turrentine.
Food: Take this to your favorite chef – someone who gets simplicity, superior raw materials and cooks everything the way it’s supposed to be cooked. Someone you trust. Open and let him/her taste it and figure out what to cook for you while this gets a few hours of air.
Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy – this wine is a passionate thinker. It possesses the calm energy of snow falling softly on a Japanese village, and the positive energy of the sun rising after a stormy night in Northern Spain. It is playful like those whiter-then-white clouds that look like animals or other things we see against a bluer-then-blue sky looking up from a Bavarian field, and carries the tension of dark threatening clouds before unleashing the storm as you run home in the rain to the comfort of a fire and a delicious meal. All those things, or whatever pivotal experiences you may have had in their place – that’s what 2013 1/1 is.
Details: 100 3-packs (2 x 750 mL, 1 x 1.5L) and, for the first time a few 3L bottles produced from Sta. Rita Hills Syrah with a small amount Grenache and Viognier from a single (my favorite) 400L barrel produced.
Food: Your favorite meal.
Music: Brian Eno’s “French Catalogues” (an adaptation of Johann Pachalbel’s Canon in D Major, Kamasi Washington’s adaptation of Debussy’s Clair De Lune, Laura Marling’s “I was an Eagle” (and several other tunes from that album), Johnny Flynn’s “Bottom of the Sea Blues” (great video too!)
As usual, 1/1 is made from a single barrel and is thus the most limited production wine of the vintage. Frequently misunderstood: contrary to convention for California wines, 1/1 does not attempt to win your admiration with sheer power and heft. 1/1 is an athlete whose well- proportioned body combines strength with lightness and speed, whose soul feeds on unwavering determination, and whose mind is of keen intellect and quick wit. This is the kind of athlete who manages to disguise fierce effort in the graceful movements of a ballet dancer – whether it’s skiing the Italian Alps, racing cars on the Isle of Man, or bicycles through the French countryside, or throwing a discus every four years at the Olympics. Sometimes out- muscled by competitors the athlete doesn’t win every contest, but is always the most enjoyable to watch…float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…
General direction for Food: If bovine, better make it a cut like hanger, flank or sirloin – you want flavor; better yet lamb with lots of garlic and rosemary, or venison on the rare side with some earthy and fruit (like cherries) accompaniments. Or – if you want to give 1/1 true “center stage”, charcuterie, some hard sheeps milk cheeses, dried fruits, nuts and a salad.
Music that might be good to listen to while drinking this: “Blue 7” by Sonny Rollins, “Riot” by Miles Davis, and the entire “Sugar” album by Stanley Turrentine.
1/1 represents the best single barrel or small lot in the cellar each vintage. A wine that renders my role as winemaker superfluous – none of the crafty blending and massaging that most of our wines undergo to become what they are; a barrel that warns me to stay the hell away until its ready to go into bottle (and puts a smile on my unsmiling face every time I visit to check in) I’ve actually come to appreciate that (also something that has taken nearly ten years…no guys in lab coats though).
Since the wine defies description, it would be silly to attempt one here. 100% Estrella clone Syrah from John Sebastiano vineyards co-fermented with Roussanne from Watch Hill, making a single 400L barrel, aged 28 months.
Warning: this wine needs time! Wait or decant otherwise you just short-change yourself.
From our newest vineyards in the eastern portion of the Santa Rita Hills, the John Sebastiano vineyard, the first two years that these young vines bore fruit happened to fall into the two coolest vintages on record for the area and despite tiny yields (less than a pound per plant on average), achieving sufficient sugar ripeness proved difficult, required patience and creativity (aside from causing serious lack of sleep). However, the results could not please me more.This wine is a rare case of singularity in Sanguis wine production – single varietal, single vineyard, (and lamentably) a bloody single barrel of this elixir is all there is, because it was such a complete thing in and of itself. 1/1, the wine, is of a savage character who in spite of his wild soul does such a fine job balancing savory and sweet notes, firm structure with silky texture, youth and maturity.
1/1 is what the fuel gauge on my dad’s old Mercedes said when the tank was full. I never got that as a kid – I got the 0 and ½ but what does 1/1 mean(?): A full measure, and in the case of this wine a unique (read ‘one of a kind’ wine for my young operation). This wine is pretty close to my ideal for the varietal. I credit the vineyard and diligent farming for the quality and the fact that the vintage challenged me to find creative ways (such as partially dehydrating the fruit in thousands of perforated trays, Amarone-style, to get the sugars higher than 22 brix) for what is in the bottle.
Note that we have changed the appellation on all of our labels from the very generic ‘California’ to (the only somewhat generic) Santa Barbara County appellation – owing to the fact that since 2009/10 we grow the raw materials in custom-planted vineyards where we hold long-term leases, all of which are located in the county. And because we believe that Santa Barbara county is one of the world’s optimal growing regions, capable of consistently achieving greatness.