Terroir “a self serving piety” says winemaker Sean Thackrey.
He goes even further. To him the idea that wine expresses the soil and climate in which its grapes grew is even “viticultural racism”. And as for those appellation things – a “gerrymandered marketing gimmick”.
Not many wine makers get a New York Times obituary when they die. Not many were as courageously eccentric as to call terroir “a self serving piety”.
Sean Thackrey had a cult following for his small production of never more than a few thousand cases a year. He did not own a vineyard and blended grapes and vintages to get the taste he liked. His annual releases were often labelled “editions” not “vintages”.
He was one of a small group of west coast winemakers known as the Rhone Rangers for turning from cabernet to varieties like shiraz.
To quote from The Times’ obituary:
Mr. Thackrey was uninterested in trends, either setting or following them. He liked to say, “My only purpose in the entire universe as a winemaker is to produce pleasure,” and he meant it. Not for him the conventional wisdom and advanced vineyard management techniques taught at schools like the University of California, Davis; winemaking, he insisted, was an idiosyncratic craft, more like cooking or painting than farming or manufacturing. ..
“All I know how to do is to make wines I like myself and then try to find people out there who agree,” he told the podcast Barfly, in an interview recorded in 2018 but released after his death. “And if we agree, then it’s really simple.”
Multi-varietal and multi-vintage
At Glug we could not describe things better.