groom wines shiraz 2006
We have been enjoying Groom’s new 2008 sauvignon blanc and their 2006 shiraz and discovered an interesting article by Dan Berger, (well known wine writer (Los Angeles Times and others) in the USA ) which is definitely worth a read. I pasted the article below which is an interesting read… It sheds some light on Daryl Groom’s story and his fine wines.
“ Justifying a Passion
Understanding superb wines is an art born of passion for the subject combined with years of investigation into what constitutes a wine over which you can get excited for a reason.And that last phrase is crucial. It’s one thing to love a particular wine, but I suggest that the depth of
anyone’s ardor for a particular wine is directly proportional to the reasons we can give for the love of it.
When someone says, “This is a great wine because I love it!,” I all but ignore the first six words of the sentence. I take no issue with people who love wines that I do not; it’s their prerogative and I don’t debate the issue of subjective taste. So you like Webern and I prefer Mozart. Debating the character of the music of each is pointless.
So when I tasted three new wines from wine maker Daryl Groom the other day over tapas at Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa, I was struck not only by their remarkably high quality, but by the fact that I could easily justify recommending all of the wines on a number of levels. In a kind of contrast, I attended a tasting later that evening staged for a few dozen wine bloggers and there I heard snippets of conversations that indicated that loving or disliking a wine seemed to be the only thing that mattered to a few of the attendees. For instance, I found one wine to be so atypical of its region that I couldn’t make any sense of it, yet at least two bloggers loved the wine because it was so aromatic. Then there was a brilliant Pinot Gris (see Tasting Notes) that was stunning because of the use of some special yeast strain, yet two bloggers didn’t understand it and made rather disparaging remarks about it.
Groom’s story is one of the reasons his wines are so brilliant. A former Penfolds wine maker
who made numerous vintages of Penfolds’ famed Grange, Groom came to Sonoma to revive moribund Geyser Peak Winery after that winery went into a sort of partnership with
an Australian wine company. Groom intended to be here only a short time, but he and his wife, Lisa, stayed a bit longer than anticipated. In 1993 I had become so enamored of his brilliant style of wine making that I named him Wine Maker of the Year in my Los Angeles Times wine
“That was a magical moment for me,” said Groom, who said that few Australian wine makers receive star treatment in their own country the way American wine makers do.
“After that I knew I could make a difference here,” he added. Groom didn’t fully comprehend
that his training at Roseworthy (now affiliated with the University of Adelaide) was so much better than that of many U.S. wine makers, and that he was implementing techniques that were not yet part of the typical repertoire of most American wine makers.
The Groom wines start with the fact that they were made only after he and Lisa found vineyard property that could make the exact style of wines Daryl desired to make. One vineyard is in Sauvignon Blanc, 20 acres on sloping land in the cool Lenswood area of Adelaide
Hills. The lowest-lying vines yield strong green-herb elements. That can be modified by bright tropical fruit from the upper vineyard.
The Shiraz is a startling wine. The fruit comes from Groom’s 42- acre vineyard adjacent to the “mother block” home of Grange. Groom also grows Zinfandel (!) on an eight-acre parcel on which the vines were grown so low to the ground that Groom jokes he ought to hire midgets to pick the fruit. “I wanted to grow the vines the way the old head-pruned California vines grew,” he said. Those who did his planting got carried away and the vines are just inches off the ground.
Groom will never make more than the three wines, and grows almost all of his own fruit—except for a small amount of Shiraz from a friend, whose 75-year-old vines also are shared with Stephen Henschke for the famed Hill of Grace wine. Moreover, Groom strategized and planted each vineyard and refused to buy existing vineyards because he wanted total control over the rootstock and top wood. Additionally, Groom says he will only grow grapes where they do best, meaning that the Sauvignon Blanc is from a cool area. “We do not grow whites in red territory and we won’t try to grow reds where whites do best,” he said.
And finally, he believes in the concept of the benign dictator who makes all the decisions.
“Look, I’m it,” he says with a Groomian smile. “At the end of the day, it’s my decision what we do
with the wine.”
Groom is also involved in a new wine project in the San Francisco Presidio called Foggy Bridge, that is at present caught in some red tape, but which will be a superb new U.S.
venture. He expects problems to be worked out soon. Meanwhile, I heartily recommend
the Groom wines. “ By Dan Berger published Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences 30 October 2008 Issue 37