Sean H. Thackrey.  Vintner.  Bolinas, California.  So reads the label on a bottle of “Pleiades” XVIII Old Vines California Red.  It is a creation by the hand of California’s most interesting wine maker, Sean Thackrey.  There is not a lot of information out there on the inter-web about Sean Thackrey.  In fact, his website doesn’t reveal too many hard facts.  But if you read and search you will learn a thing or two about this idiosyncratic wine maker.  He makes wine his way, relying on ancient texts, and puts them out into the world to be discovered.  I am not sure how the wines make their way to the market place or where they are sold.  I have very rarely come across Sean Thackrey’s wines, but they are infamous to those who know them.  The first encounter with Thackrey’s wines came with a bottle of his 1989 Orion at the Magnum Opus dinner.  I have been waiting for another day that I would come across his wines, and that happened recently and randomly while on vacation.  In an anonymous wine shop filled mostly with generic standards, I spotted a bottle of Thackrey’s “Pleiades”.  Just one bottle, in some random spot.  What was it doing there?  I assumed it was waiting for me and, as there was only one, I grabbed it.  Pleiades is Thackrey’s most reasonably priced entry, and it is a blend of many grapes from different vintages.  Blends are common, and I think they can create some of the most fantastic wines when they are done well, but blends from multiple vintages are very uncommon.  It is taboo in the wine making world to blend from different vintages, but then again Thackrey is the kind of wine maker who serves what is best for the wine rather than what is accepted as the norm.  Needless to say the Pleiades was very excellent indeed (see tasting notes below), but what makes it all the more interesting is Sean Thackrey himself.  Please check out this small profile of Sean Thackrey here, like his wines, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Sean Thackrey “Pleiades” XVIII Old Vines, California Red

Medium garnet with purple hues, this blend of Sangiovese, Mourvedre, Viognier, Syrah, Cabernet, and some other stuff, is layered, complex, and delicious.  There are notes of blueberries, candied fruits, cola, red spice, dates, and caramel.  The mouth feel is rich and complex but without being overdone.  Despite a blend of so many different grapes from multiple vintages, it remains amazingly pure.  It typically retails about $25 if you can find it, as it seems to be more readily available on the west coast.  Worth the search.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – MUST TRY