For several weeks I debated what I should do about the wines that I tasted below. Normally (for as much as anything is “normal” these days). I highlight a winery on Wednesdays with which I have some familiarity meaning I have either visited or at least have been sampling the wines for some time.
That is not the case today.
Today, while I would love to wax poetically about the history and story behind Locanda wines, I know very little about the brand and the website does not offer up much information either.
This is what I do know: the wines are fantastic across the board. Really, really fantastic, some of the best I have tasted all year. And. The bottles that house the wines are ridiculously heavy. Really, really, really heavy. While I plan to write more about this subject in the near future, I will just say now that people in the wine industry need to address this issue and recognize the toll it is taking on the environment.
It seems as though that there are at least a few people in the wine industry that see this as a problem but there are very few willing to say or do anything about it. As I sit here on the West Coast looking at smoke-filled skies, I wonder why these heavy bottles continue to exist.
As I mention below several times: great wines. Really great. Stupidly heavy bottles. Really stupid.
2018 Locanda Wines Chardonnay Beckstoffer Carneros Lake Vineyard, Carneros, CA: Retail $60. B.A.B. Honestly, I do not buy a lot of $60 Chard anymore. There was a time while I was leading bike tours in France, that I would buy some white Burgundies for quite a bit less than that, but those days are done as the prices for even “average” bottles from the region have skyrocketed. And my desire to buy white Burgundy for over fifty bucks is as dead as Mozart. Most of the Chardonnay I purchase these days are from California and they usually fall in $30-$40 range. Well, I might have to up that just a bit after tasting this wine. On first sniff? Whoa. Lemon curd, white flower, a bit of hazelnut. Lovely, and a whoa. The palate is rich, big even, with ripe fruit, salinity, oak, and minerality. Yes, the cost of this is on par with many white Burgundies but no, this is not one of those. This is a rich, ebullient Chard that deserves attention on its own merits. Wonderful. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2017 Locanda Wines Remus, Estate, Sonoma Valley, CA: Retail $95. 100% Primitivo. B.A.B. 2 years in barrel. Perhaps a bit darker than most Zinfandels (its closely related sibling), it also expresses much darker fruit (plum, blackberry) and plenty of spice (cardamom, clove, Christmas spice). The palate is incredibly rich, loaded with fruit, spice, forrest floor, and even some tannins on the finish (though soft and integrated). This is not your grandfather’s Zin. Nor is it your mother’s. It may not even be “yours” but this is a rich, full-bodied, close to full-throttle interpretation of what Primitivo can be. Yowza. and Whoa. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2017 Locanda Wines Durif Romulus, Estate, Sonoma Valley, CA: Retail $95. 100% Durif. B.A.B. While many consider Durif and Petite Sirah to be the same variety, as with most topics in wine, it is not that easy. While they are certainly closely related, some (like Locanda) consider Durif a clone of Petite Sirah. Others assume the reverse. Regardless, they are pretty similar. As such, this is an inky dark wine with oodles of fruit, but it is also extremely well made and balanced with a tangy acidity that announces that it is in charge from the jump and reigns supreme through the finish. Yeah, this is really good, but it is also the first $100 (close enough) Durif/Petite that I have tried, so what do I know? I do know it garners a Whoa (particularly on Day 2). Outstanding. 94 Points.
2017 Locanda Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard, Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $180. Under cork. Really, really, really B.A.B. This might be the heaviest bottle I have ever tried to lift. The wine, even after several hours open, was incredibly tight but eventually, with considerable coaxing, I picked up some dark berry fruit, mostly blackberry, cassis, and a touch of plum. Add in some spice, black pepper, and some dark earth, and the nose is pretty darned attractive. The palate is also rather shy initially, but the fruit blossoms after a handful of hours open, which is accompanied by a balancing tartness and mostly integrated tannins. There is enough of that tannic grip on the finish, though, to suggest a long life ahead, at least a decade. Outstanding. 93 Points.
2018 Locanda Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard, Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA: Retail $180. Under cork. Really, really, really B.A.B. It really amazes me how heavy these bottles are. As for the wine? While I loved the 2017, this wine is a decided step (or more) above. There is no information for this wine available online so I am going to assume that a) it hs not been released yet and b) it is 100% Cabernet. With that out of the way, holy smokes, this is good. Rich, unctuous, layered, this is just about everything one think when presented with a “Napa Cab” (including the utter ridiculous, environmentally destroying bottle–really? this is such a wonderful wine, do you need the Frankenstein bottle to sell it??). I had planned on waxing poetically about this wine’s rich dark fruit, earthy undertones, mocha mid-palate, and silky tannins, but this bottle really ticks me off. Great wine. Really great wine. Stupid bottle. Really stupid bottle. Whoa (on both counts). Outstanding. 95 Points.