Our Samples Policy states, “We love a good back-story” and invites winemakers and publicists to send us as much information as they want. Well, the Crimson & Clover wine is perhaps the best back-story I’ve ever read—so much so that I’m putting it at the front instead of at the back.
In the cover letter that came with this bottle of wine, fourth-generation winemaker John Concannon wrote, “I am pleased to send you the first release of our Conservancy Crimson & Clover, a wine that was created as a tribute to my father, Jim Concannon, the father of America’s first Petite Sirah and presented to him at a celebration of his 80th birthday which was held at Concannon Vineyard on July 25, 2011. The name Crimson & Clover reflects pride in our Irish heritage; the clover is the traditional Irish symbol for prosperity and crimson pays homage to the strong, bright, deep red color of the blend.”
APPEARANCE: Clear garnet, pink to clear edges. Light pink legs! (That’s the Petite Sirah talking.)
NOSE: Floral, Stargazer lilies, a little dust.
TASTE: We decanted this one, because it started off so subdued. It was constant from start to finish. Brambles. Chewy, velvety. A slight spiciness mid/back tongue. Beautifully balanced and delicious. Well-mannered. No bonking on the head a la fruit bomb. Almost subdued, yet rich. A hint of chocolate.
And now for a little back-story of my own. I followed a link on one of John Concannon’s recent posts to a TV interview featuring his Dad, the honoree of this wine, who was talking about the book “Cooking a Honker,” produced 16 years ago by a bunch of friends who were/are all Livermore Valley winemakers and grape growers. I found a couple of copies on Amazon, including one “with an inscription by one of the editors.” I bought it, and Jim Concannon’s signature is on the frontispiece! Several other winemakers signed the book throughout, too. Fun! Obviously the Concannon family has been in the business of having fun and living life to the hilt for a long time; several recipes are featured on their Web site, too.
Can’t wait to see what they come up for the second release!
LABEL NOTES: Roots. Rocks. Intrigue. My Great-Grandfather, James Concannon, began handcrafting outstanding wines in 1883. The majority of this velvety blend is Petite Sirah, a varietal that we were first to bottle [more than] 50 years ago and one that thrives in the gravelly soil of the Livermore Valley. By placing vineyards into conservancy it ensures wines will continue to be crafted for future generations. We believe preservation of vineyard and agricultural lands protects our quality of life. A vibrant red blend of signature Livermore Valley varietals, Crimson & Clover joins the Conservancy tier as a tribute to the enduring spirit that runs deep in the Irish roots of the Concannon family. Bold Cabernet Sauvignon and spicy Zinfandel support lush Petite Sirah, our flagship varietal, which lends a richness and depth to this complex blend. Pair with an Irish favorite, steak and mushroom pie with a rich butter crust.
WINEMAKER NOTES: The 2009 Crimson & Clover … is a velvety blend of signature Livermore varietals. Aromas of currant, clove, and vanilla lead into bright fruit falvors of blackberry on the palate. The spicy finish is soft and long with hints of leather and tobacco. Crimson & Clover is the first blend and the fifth wine in the Conservancy portfolio. All Concannon Conservancy wines are sourced 100% from grapes grown in precious Livermore vineyards that are protected from urban encroachment by a conservation trust that preserves the land for perpetuity. All the Conservancy wines are terroir-driven with an emphasis on balancing fruit with wine-making style. The Tri-Valley Conservancy now has [more than] 3,100 acres.
The winery has four tiers: Concannon Selected Vineyards (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Petite Sirah); Concannon Conservancy (Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Crimson & Clover red blend); Reserve & Heritage (available only from the winery, online and from the tasting room); and Glen Ellen.
Aged 18 months in French and American oak barrels.
10,000 cases produced.
0.66g/100ml acidity, pH 3.61
Sample received for review.