The Bootleg Vio (A Collab from Kris Beverly & Lee Tomkow)

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The Bootleg Vio (A Collab from Kris Beverly & Lee Tomkow)

Postby Phil_Carpenter » Tue May 14, 2013 7:49 am

Flashback...April 21, 2013. Sunday of Santa Barbara Vintners Fest weekend. Eating a home-cooked breakfast at my Uncle's house in Ojai. iPhone chimes with a new Facebook message. Slide to right...put the orange juice down.

Flashback even further...August, 2011. While visiting Larry Schaffer in the Tercero tasting room in Los Olivos, a man walks in, bellies up to the bar, and gives Larry a handshake. I couldn't help but hear the English accent that brought me back to speaking with my relatives. Larry slides over and says, "Have you met Lee Tomkow before?"

Lee Tomkow is an underground legend in the area. Lee knows everyone...and everyone knows Lee. I was glad to be one of the everybodies. I gave Lee one of my freshly minted business cards for this site and said, "Let's stay in touch" (I find myself saying that a lot).

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Lee Tomkow (left) talking with Larry Schaffer (Right)
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Over the months and years, I've gotten to know Lee pretty well. We talk often. Early in our friendship, Lee said, "I just moved into a new place...it's got a vineyard". "We'll be by next week".

Rachel, Anna, and I descend from the car and into Lee's vineyard. Lee welcomes us with open arms. The vineyard looks rugged...but Lee has great plans for it. Anna has fun running the lanes while Lee and I talk about the potential. This was once a prominent vineyard kicking out some serious juice. The poor thing just got neglected.

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Lee's vineyard...the early years.
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Lee and I talking vines...Anna, wondering where she should start pruning.
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Back to April 21, 2013:

"Hey Philip! Lee told me you were interested in trying viognier from his vineyard, and that you might be at ABC for the open house. I actually have my wine stored there." -Kris Beverly

The first place we went to on that Sunday was the Au Bon Climat & Qupe Open House. So many amazing wines...great food. Got to talk to some old friends...and made some new ones. One of the new friends was Kris. When I met him, he was getting worked at a three-deep table. I squeezed in, made the intro and Kris handed me a bottle. "Enjoy, let me know what you think!"

I eagerly awaited the right time to open the bottle of viognier. I wanted to spend some time with it. Last Monday was that time. I pulled the cork, and let the sparks fly.

Background on the bottle:

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The bottle
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-Harvested at 24b
-Fermented in neutral oak then Malo & cold stabilized in steel
-Pressed w small hydraulic basket
-Steel w/DV10 and full Malo fermentations
-Hand bottled with gravity feed (no machines used in production)
-Small test run (13 will shine), series is not available for commercial release (but a second bottling of the '12 will be commercial later this year)

First Night Open:
Bright yellow in glass, dried field flowers/perfume, chalky/gravel earth, some honeysuckle and ripe stone fruit and citrus. Touch of pear when at room temp. Totally consistent palate with an orange/lemon rind that reminds me of marmalade. Layered…but with racy acid on the finish.

Very tricky wine…viscous…gives off layers which make you think a big, mouth-coating finish coming…then wham! some acid!

2nd Night:
More honeyed on the nose. Leveling out in the mouth. Little more flinty, steely, citrusy.

Kris is going to be releasing some more wines later this year, under the label, "Bevela". I hope to get a sneak preview based off this experience. Lee has done some amazing work in the rows, primarily by himself. As for the name of the vineyard, let's say it is TBD. Knowing Lee, it will be something cool.
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