Virtual Wine Tasting Friday with Absentee Winery
The most exciting CA winery I've found in....a long time
Absentee is the most exciting and important winery I've picked up in the last 12 months. When was the last time I wrote an email like this about a California winery?! California occupies a huge place in the worlds cultural consciousness. Say California to someone and they immediately think of wide open spaces, rebels without causes, confidant people doing things their own way, Hollywood and wine country. Reality though is that the vast majority of CA wine is made industrially by guys in suites following a technical blue print. Avi Deixler at Absentee is the opposite of that. He uses, no additives, no sulfur even just to clean barrels instead using alcohol he distills himself. Avi makes his wines with passion, hard work, and intuition; they're the truest expressions of California that I've ever tasted. According to the main stream wine establishment these wines shouldn't even be possible to exist. But they do and they're gorgeous.
Virtual Wine Tasting Friday the 17th at 5pm
order the wines from Maine and Loire this week,
then taste with Avi online
Zoom Tasting with Avi Sign Up
Maine and Loire has 4 of Avi's wines available. Scroll down for notes on them.
Order Absentee from Maine and Loire
Named Absentee because of his no additive wine making, Absentee is a relatively new winery. Avi Deixler's first vintage was in 2016 when he made a small run of wine in rented space at another winery before moving into his own winery in 2017. And by winery I mean an old dairy barn that had been empty for I don't know how long before he fought and convinced the planning board to allow him to open his artisan winery in it. Avi is in fact the only winery in Marin county and the town was really skeptical of him. But Avi grew up in the area and in the end he got permission to set up shop.
Prior to starting Absentee Avi had worked with Baptiste Cousin in Anjou, John Schmitt in Corbières, Domaine des Gandines in the Mâconnais, and then finally Tony Coturri. If you don't already know, Coturri is a legend and trail blazer of hand made real wines in CA. Avi is of trying to make delicious and expressive and honest wines with zero additives and no thought to altering how he works to chase any trends or be hip. It's very non-commercial, which is sort of un-Californian! But at the same time these wines are so honest and expressive, big and loud, lush and confident that they're very very honestly Californian!
Avi seems to just like doing everything himself. He actually takes cast off barrels from big wineries and uses an angle grinder to laboriously grind out the insides so that any residue from the previous wine making is gone. This means the fresh wood that is exposed to the wine also hasn't been toasted by a barrel maker over a fire and don't give the flavors we associate with oak. Unusually, these raw oak barrels are pretty much the only vessels that he uses for all his wine making and aging. These are some of the most honest and confident California wines I've ever had and I'm overjoyed to work with them.
So named because Avi says that "flaws" is the American translation of the French word "terroir". It's a joke meaning that most wine making in CA is sanitized to the point that they don't taste like where they come from.
This is made from a grape called Arbourieu. It's one of those old traditional grapes that was imported from Europe and grown in CA 70-80 years ago when farmers were making wine. Most of it has been ripped up to plant Cabernet and Chardonnay now, but there's still a bit at the multi generational Poor family vineyard in Mendocino. Flaws is a big lovable juicy expressive red with a long finish but tannins that are pretty easy going.
100% Grenache! This is a bit of a lighter red in comparison to Avi's Syrahs and it has such a fun bouncy positive personality! On the one had this is a juicy fresh easy to enjoy wine (like pop music). On the other hand it has great balance and interesting underlying flavors that you start to pick up on. To make a music analogy it would have to be to some of Grimes best work: it's catchy and infectious, but then you realize she did all the production and recording her self and you're blown away by the hidden complexity. It's a fun juicy, vivid, raspberry flavored red that keeps drawing you back in with an intriguing zesty pepper and spice.
Balou hits you with bright sunny blackberry fruit right off, but then the mid-palate turns all dark and spicy. This is a red with serious presence. It has this delicious black cherry fruit going on so you think you're drinking a fun gregarious red but this wine lingggggeerrrsssss. This is a very serious wine masquerading as a party animal.
Oooh wow, sit down and enjoy the ride with this Syrah. That label is perfect; this wine is big as an elephant, but with unbelievable balance and delicacy.
There's black raspberry and cooked blueberry, like in a pie. But also...aromatic herbs, wintergreen; this is a deep dark twisting turning experience of Syrah. It's fantastic and utterly spell binding to drink and experience.
Maine and Loire is doing a virtual wine tasting with Avi this Friday the 17th! You can pick up any of these wines at Maine and Loire over the course of the week. Then tune into Zoom meeting https://us04web.zoom.us/j/372128561 a 5 pm on Friday to meet Avi and taste the wines as he talks about his life making natural wines
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