Wine Last Sold on: November 28, 2009
2006 Threesome - Rhone Style Blend
|Region:||California: San Benito County|
|Total Allocation:||TOP SECRET - LIMITED|
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The Winery Says:
About This Wine:
The 2006 Estate Grown Threesome is our risqué and delicious take on the marriage of three classic Rhone red varietals: Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. The name reflects both the sexy nature of this wine and our philosophy to always challenge the existing status quo.
Comprised of 66% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 9% Mourvedre, this wine has a gorgeous nose of ripe blackberry fruit, cassis, milk chocolate and baked cherry. Fabulous depth and fresh acidity help create a full-bodied wine that is layered with complexity and flavor.
About The Winery:
Léal Vineyards is the creation of a self-taught wine fanatic. Owner Frank Léal is living his dream. His goal? To have fun, to reestablish San Benito County’s historic reputation as a winegrowing region, and to consistently provide limited, exceptional vintages to his discerning fans.
Many folks fantasize of running a winery when they retire. Frank decided to pursue his dream while still in his twenties. Leaving his blue-collar career behind, he searched for the perfect locale. In 1998 and only 28 years old, Frank purchased 45 acres for the new vineyard. The chosen spot? The foothills of Hollister, in San Benito County towards the northern end of California’s sprawling Central Coast region. Léal recognized that here was a perfect synthesis of climate, soils, and people for producing truly great wines.
As the vines were left to mature in Hollister, Frank headed to Napa to learn first hand how to craft world class wines. While the knowledge he learned in Napa was invaluable, his didn’t really fit in his irreverent attitude and youthful style clashed with Napa’s snobbery and stuffy tasting rooms. He knew that the eventual Léal wines and visitor experience would have to reflect his belief that wine should be built for and around good friends, good meals, and good times in a non-pretentious enviroment.
About The Winemaker:
Our winemaker, Frank Léal approaches winemaking as a free-style art form rather than a scientific task. Frank is big on experimentation to ensure that the very best wine is produced from each vintage of precious grapes from the estate’s vineyards. At Léal, all grapes are harvested based on flavor rather than numbers. During each vintage, multiple sources of oak barrels are tested prior to selection. Cooperage and oak sources include France, America, Hungary, Russia and China. Multiple fermenting yeast strands are also tested with each grape varietal. The goal is to make the best possible wine and not to follow a recipe – each vintage is different. It is a painstaking, perfectionist approach.
Many of Léal’s wines are bottled unfiltered. This is a controversial way of making wine, with huge risks. Frank believes filtering strips complexity from the wine. Bypassing filtration allows our limited releases to display every bit of their potential. After watching these wines like they are my kids for 18 months to 2 years, it doesn’t make sense to put so much time in and have it altered by something that you can avoid. The end result is soft texture, not tannic, hard or heavy. The two most important components of Léal wines are the deep complexity and the extended finish.
The wines of Léal are phat & chewy with deep extraction, delivering huge flavor, silky texture, and a long soft finish. And while they consistently win more than their share of accolades and awards, they are specifically designed to please Léal’s loyal core of patrons.
The wine’s integrity is a direct reflection of Frank’s dedication and his work hard / play hard mentality. The Léal Vineyards label is an invitation to enjoy truly special wines with friends and family. Pull a cork, shake your butt, and celebrate Fine Wines and Good Times…It’s the Shiznit!
Appellation: San Benito County
Vineyard: Leal Estate
Harvest: 21Sept-10 Oct 2006
Barrel Aging: 24 months
Produced: 1,589 cases
Released: Jan 2009
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Mission Codename: Three’s Company
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red to Hollister, California, for a Rhone-style red blend, a style of wine that is very popular with our Operatives. Local an incredible example and secure an ample quantity for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Léal Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Threesome
Winemakers: Franco Léal
Backgrounder: Wine Spies Operatives love Rhone-style red blends whose primary composition is usually Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre (sometimes referred to as a ’GSM’). Today’s red Rhone could be called a SMG as it leads off with 66% Syrah – then gives way to 25% Grenache and 9% Mourvedre. Read Red’s tasting notes and mission report below for the full details on today’s great wine
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark garnet to with a deep heart of pure burgundy, this wine shows deeply concentrated color right out to the slightly lighter, purple edges at the wall of the glass. On swirling, this wine shows a fast-moving and bouncy surface that settles quickly, leaving behind clusters of chubby, slow-moving legs
Smell – Deep, lush and very aromatic with a pronounced rush of dark blackberry with blueberry, blackberry bramble, cherry, medium chocolate, cigar box (cedar) and soft spice
Feel – Supple and smooth on entry, then the wine coats the mouth and a tender complexity emerges – eventually evolving into a much larger wine than originally thought as medium tannins grip in at the edges of the palate, adding a soft mineral dryness
Taste – Delicious and lush, with concentrated fruit that starts with smoky dark flavors of plum, black cherry and overripe blackberry. These sit atop additional flavors of white pepper, dark chocolate and smoked cassis
Finish – Big and bold, long and lingering, with brightly delicious fruit that changes and evolves, long after you sip
Conclusion – This is a truly delicious and very intriguing wine that is big on flavors and lush aromatics. While I find most GSM blends to be overly harsh and well out of balance, I find this wine to be smooth and beautifully balanced. Add to the delicious flavors, the fact that the wine evolves and emerges in your mouth and, well, you have a wine that is also great fun to drink. Make no mistake, this is a big and heartily flavorful wine, but it also has great acidity and a real balance that keeps it from overpowering your senses. I give this wine a very hearty Wine Spies recommendation!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Frank Léal
DATE OF BIRTH: January 1971
PLACE OF BIRTH: Providence, Rhode Island
WINE EDUCATION: Napa Valley Cellar Rat
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Hands-On / Steve Reynolds
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: PHAT Wines – No Pretence
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Syrah
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Voted in the Top 20 Wines on the Planet; 1 of 5 in U.S. Food & Wine Magazine 2004
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “My primary goal is to grow balanced, ultra-premium wine grapes while incurring the least amount of environmental impact.”
AGENT RED: Greetings, Frank. We are thrilled to be showing your [wine] today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
LEAL: It’s a pleasure to talk to you about one of my favorite things in life. Wine!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
LEAL: I was brought up in a Portuguese household where wine was always on the dinner table
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
LEAL: Most self-taught. Following my palate.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
LEAL: Rich, elegance and balanced. I make my wines to enter soft and rich with layers of flavor and finish with elegance.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RED: How long have you been making wine?
LEAL: 11 years
RED: Who do you make wine for?
LEAL: Myself – and it just so happens that my 2000 member wine club enjoy it too!
RED: Tell me, what makes the San Benito so special?
LEAL: San Benito County has a long growing season. I can grow everything from Chardonnay to Cab.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
LEAL: Be true to your palate, everything else will fall into place
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
LEAL: Barreling down the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and working on my Portuguese.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
LEAL: This is my signature Rhone style blend – 66% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 9% Mourvedre
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
LEAL: Rack of Lamb
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
LEAL: Wine consumes my whole day. From the time I roll out of bed to the dreams I have about working on my blends.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
LEAL: I have two glasses of wine with dinner, usually one from the Léal line up. White or red.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
LEAL: It’s not about ratings, medals or labels. It’s about what tastes good. Be true to your palate.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
LEAL: Alban Syrah, Reva Vineyard
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
LEAL: What do you enjoy about the wine business?
Every day is different. One day you’re out on a tractor, then picking and crushing fruit, and sometimes getting dressed up for a wine maker dinner.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
LEAL: Thanks, life is short, enjoy your favorite wines daily! For the love of wine, Léal Vineyards
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Leal Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.