Upcoming CLONYC events




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10/12/14

CLONYC 45 Fairchild Wines with Larry Fairchild

Last night the CLONYC gang hosted Larry Fairchild and an amazing selection from both his current offerings and personal library. It was CLONYC 45 and we did it big-- my fellow CLONYCers have come to expect nothing less. I have been looking forward to this for some time now.

3 flights, 10 wines, lots to say, so let’s get at it…

Flight 1
2010 Fairchild Sigaro- pretty nose of wonderful black fruits. Palate shows a very refined and focused wine with dark currants, blackberries and coffee bean. A light note of cedar brings dimension, Balance is impeccable. As it sits the nose actually gets darker and the wine becomes plusher with a super interesting note of tobacco leaf. I also find a hint of minerality/earthiness in there as well. What an amazing start. My WOTF
2011 Fairchild Sigaro- A bit redder in nose and palate. A nice red cassis driven wine with some sassafras. I get an almost medicinal note on this. Balance is tremendous and finish long. A great effort in a trying year, even above the fog line.
2011 Fairchild GIII- Bolder and darker with some added depth. More blackberries and dark fruited and a similar mout-feel to the Sigaro. Balance near perfect. I think this to be a bit more four-square in style than the Sigaro just as Chris Maybach’s Amoenus is to the Materium. Very nice wine indeed. 

Flight 2
2006 Fairchild Sigaro- This opens in the what has become obvious on the night, a Sigaro style: a very fragrant nose of super black fruits. Palate shows some of the coffee-bean and tobacco albeit much quieter and resolved into the soul of this wine. Style-wise, it leans a bit more to the restrained. As usual, balance deft and finish long and true. A pretty good way to start this flight.
2007 Fairchild GIII- So, after just discussing how myself and this group has not found much love in 2007 Napa Cabs, this comes along to stick its multi-layered shoe into my over-opinionated mouth, sideways. Pretty nose of spring flowers and cola with some worn leather and lead pencil shavings. (Something we start seeing more of across the board). This is stupendous with layer upon layer of resolved goodness with no rough edges to be seen, anywhere. It’s delicate in its approach and flinty in its memory. May be one of the top 4-5 2007s I have ever had, and that is saying much. Wow. My WOTF
2008 Fairchild Sigaro- Whenever I get to sample anyone’s 2008, I always get this rambunctious rascally wine with a tremendous will to just wreak a fun loving havoc on your senses; this wine could be leader of the pack. It’s dark and brash with a playful wistfulness. Its deep, it’s dark it’s multi-layered and it has some cola, some un-cola, some forest floor, some rubbed leather, some tar and lead pencil and some lightning and thunder. Its everything to everyone and yet something you just quite can apprehend, like a bank robber, it wears a mask. Wowsa, wines from 2008 are constantly evolving in a cyclical maelstrom of vortexed conundrums.
2009 Fairchild GIII- dark fruited with a nice lilty creaminess running right through it. The usual fine grained tannins layered within a very balanced structured boneset. The nose shows a wonderful violet note. The finish it true and long. We had an interesting conversation about GIIIs distinctiveness or lack thereof. What the hell do you mean, Mike? I mean GIIIs can be good, but ‘we’ in this modest group after sampling a nice selection just can’t find any common thread like you would in say a Tokalon or a Dr Crane. Larry agreed and added the vineyard is a bit tricky and just makes great wine. I can’t argue with that because they are….great. This actually reminds me a bit of a well made ToKalon of the now-gone Karl Lawrence.

 Flight 3
2012 Fairchild GIII (unreleased)- This one shows tremendously with a more side-ways explosion of the fruits to the Sigaros fully rounded. I also get the redder styled fruit profile. It’s finely woven and densely packed. Hints of cola and cardamom with fresh leather and a slight note of vanilla. A great wine that will astound for many many years.
2012 Fairchild Sigaro (unreleased)- Here is where the rubber leaves the road. This wine is all you could ever expect from Sigaro in a wonderful vintage; skills have been honed and lessons learned all for this very moment where the perfect expression of Sigaro is released upon the world (Next year, lol). I had this as my first taste right after opening; it showed an intensity and structure you would expect from the perfect storm I mentioned above; it’s super deep with a crazy amount of layers and each layer almost seems to hold another variation on the same theme: awesome fruit, lovingly nurtured and delivered to perfection. Larry should put bubble wrap around the cases that hold these bottles, it’s that good. Black cassis driven fruits profile with hints of cola, graphite, leather, cedar-box and exotic tea leaf. Tannins are what you would expect them to be, somewhat large but nowhere can I sense a rough edge. It’s a finely woven wine which has texture and states it presence like a King. As the second to last wine on the night it has become more boisterous or ‘slutty’ if you will, but remains my WOTF and my WOTF. 7 others agreed with me. A wine worthy of the splurge, if you so must. 2011 Stones One- the latest creation of Fairchild, this is adorned with hand made and applied labels that are striking in themselves. This comes from the Las Piedras vineyard. What was once a Syrah laden tract is now reclaimed for Cabernet Sauvignon. I love the concept of this wine. Nose of red/black fruits with tremendous depth and structure. Late in the night but I can still discern it’s greatness. It certainly reminded me of the earlier sampled 2011s with a twist on the fruit profile, with an additional dose of verve and elegance. This shows purity and an interesting sense of place. One to watch.

It was interesting to see the change from the Paul Hobbs made wines to the Philippe Melka. Having tracked Melka wines for many years now, I can say that I believe he has found his place and firmly so with wines like Fairchild; give a talented winemaker some incredible fruit and allow him to do his thing. Everyone seems to win here, especially us.
Thanks to Larry for the opportunity to sample such an amazing lineup of wines. He has both knowledge and passion; he speaks of his life-work almost as a life-pleasure and his magnetic personality just makes you want to shut up and listen. The shutting up part has gotten a bit hard for me to do lately.
 Awesome night.