Time was, red wines from California's Edna Valley--south of San Luis Obispo--were typically light in color, seemingly more anemic than healthy.
I still remember my first impressions of early 1980s Pinot Noir from Edna Valley Vineyard – pale red garnet in color, with decent flavors, but nothing to get excited about.
The other night, I was thinking of those days, and how things have changed, after taking home a few of the spoils from one of my regular blind tastings.
On the good days, I often take home a couple of bottles I’ve reviewed. It gives me a chance out of the office to think about what I liked about the wine, or appellation, or producer.
The wines in question were four of the darkest, inkiest, most saturated reds I’ve tasted, and they came from Edna Valley of all places.
I absolutely loved the four 2004s, a pair of Syrahs, a Grenache and a Grenache blend.
These days I can almost tell an Alban red just by the color.
In this instance, the wines were Alban's Lorraine, Reva, Grenache and Pandora Seymour’s Vineyard bottlings. All great wines, as has become the norm from this producer.
John Alban once used the words “motor oil” to describe the color of his reds.
I like “dark side of the moon.”
Alban credits the wines' color to the clones he brought from France’s Rhône Valley years ago when he planted Alban Vineyard, and thanks to him, many more of the reds from the Edna Valley appellation are now rich, vibrant and saturated.
Don’t think I’ve ever seen any wines that are darker.