I’ve mentioned it before, but one thing that makes me recoil in horror most of the time is when a neighbor or friend offers for me to try and taste a wine from a friend who is a winemaker, or from a winery that they just found during a trip. Sure, there’s been some huge successes like Vaughn Duffy and Dos Lagos, two of my favorite wineries and both introduced to me under those circumstances. Usually though, it’s not somthing quite as interesting (or good) and typically people expect me to love the wine as much as they do. Don’t get me wrong, I am told multiple times a week that a certain wine was, or wasn’t good, but that’s not a conversation that we’re accustomed to having with friends right? It’s just a weird situation.
Last week I was introduced to a wine surprising enough, from San Antonio. You probably did the same thing that I did, expecting a guy in a cowboy hat on the label, but in this case we’re talking about the San Antonio Valley. Well Line Shack Winery does have a name that recalls the Cowboy past of the west, since a line shack is a small building in an otherwise desolete, barren open cattle range. What’s different though is that the San Antonio I was told about was actually the San Antonio Valley, an AVA that I am slightly familiar with.
There’s a dichotomy in the San Antonio AVA that bears a short explanation. First, yes it is in California, specifically Monterey County. Most of us think of Monterey County as a cool climate growing region and for the most part, it is. That’s where the San Antonio Valley comes in and another great example of an AVA that does in fact tell you, a ton about the wine that’s in your glass. The San Antonio Valley is a mountaineous valley within the Santa Lucia range and offers some of the warmer temperatures available anywhere in Monterey. As an example, today it’s 75 degrees in the San Antonio Valley and only 64 degrees in Monterey. In terms of wine, that’s about the same difference in average temperature between Napa Valley and Temeciula, so big that’s it hard to quantify.
Ok, so the bottle in question was a Syrah from Line Shack Wines. Line Shack isn’t beating around the bush with this Syrah-it’s big, bold and intense. I mean, there’s plenty of good cool climate Syrah’s being produced, but every so often don’t we want something with more meat behind it? I certainly do and Line Shack delivered a wine that retails for under $20 that would allow wine drinkers of a number of different experience levels to be happy with the bottle that’s on the table.