Sean Thackrey, I think, can rightly be described as a bit of a maverick, an unconventional winemaker that came to the wine world from the art world. Thackrey studied art history at Reed College, Portland, Oregon, sold antique books and was the director of an art gallery before wine came calling. Thackrey has been based in the town of Bolinas in Marin County, California since 1977 and it was here that he made his forays into wine-making, experimenting with grapes purchased from Fay Vineyard in 1977, with the first vintage of wine from Thackrey & Co. Winery being released in 1981.
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Thackrey sources his grapes from growers in the Napa Valley, Marin County and Mendocino. Thackrey Pleiades is an experimental non-vintage blend first released in 1992. It is an ever-changing blend made from a multitude of grapes varieties which can include Syrah, Barbera, Zinfandel, Carignan, Sangioves, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre, Grenache and even some white Viognier or Marsanne. The recipe changes every year depending on various decisions and grape availablility. Thackrey has described the wine as his “chef’ s special”. It doesn’t bear a vintage (Roman numerals depict the identity of the particular version). Thackrey has said, “It’s like a chef’s special. You trust the chef so you’re prepared to order the dish of the day”. According to the back label “The object of Pleiades Old Vines is to be delicious, delight the jaded, irritate the Wine Police, and go well with anything red wine goes well with. Fragrant and voluptuous when first released, it will become far more subtle and complex with a year or two of bottle age, although such restraint might be too much to ask of most of us.” The label also states that the XXII bottling contains “Sangiovese, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Mourvedre to name but a few.”
Thackrey Pleiades XXII has a great floral nose with strawberry aromas that are balanced out with savoury herbaceous notes that are typical of many of Thackrey’s wines. The palate is fruity with hints of chocolate, toasted oak and there are sweet cherry notes with a background nuttiness. The wine has moderate tannis, good acidity and a complex and smooth finish.