This is my entry for Wine Blogging Wednesday 5, wherein Pim challenged folks to drink up and write up a wine with an unusual name. Before making my final decision I looked around and passed over Orin Swift's The Prisoner, K Vintners' The Beautiful, Owen Roe's Sinister Hand, and D'Arenberg's The Dead Arm (I am not touching that bottle for a long time). The other day, for a very short while, I regretted (in theory, since it actually sounds like a wine I would hate) not tracking down a chardonnay called Mad Housewife. And I passed up The Ball Buster because, even though it easily beats out names like Defendant and The Last Ditch, it just seemed too easy and god knows I like to make things difficult for myself. So I ended up with the 2003 Holus-Bolus Syrah. Maybe the wine itself doesn't have a strange name, since it is their only wine and just called the varietal, but Holus-Bolus is wacky enough in my book.
Region: Santa Ynez Valley, California, US
Composition: 100% Syrah, I assume, although I am not totally sure.
Background: I knew nothing about this when I got it last summer, and was completely a victim of packaging since I picked it up because of the name and label. I mean, it's an octopus! And a very mysterious one at that. Anyway, it sat around for a few months, and then I decided to get it out for Wine Blogging Wednesday. When I first bought it I could find nothing out about it, but I was able to dig up some information on it, which I will relay in a moment. First, let's look at the phrase "holus-bolus":
holus bolus - (definition from moby-thesaurus)
a corps perdu, carelessly, desperately, furiously, happen what may,
hastily, head over heels, headfirst, headforemost, headlong,
heedlessly, heels over head, helter-skelter, hotheadedly,
hurriedly, hurry-scurry, impetuously, like crazy, like mad, madly,
overeagerly, overenthusiastically, overzealously, precipitantly,
precipitately, precipitously, ramble-scramble, recklessly,
slam-bang, slap-bang, slapdash, wantonly, wildly
As suggested by the words above, this wine is a collaboration between four winemaker-friends: Peter Hunken (of Stolpman), Jim Knight (Jelly Roll), Chad Melville (Melville, Samsara), and Sashi Moorman (Red Car, Stolpman). This is their first release as such, and they made 225 cases of it in an industrial rental until in Lompoc they refer to as "the wine ghetto". The octopus on the label represents the eight hands involved in the making of the wine.
Notes: In the glass this is dark, opaque, and practically purple. We decanted it for a short time and after that it had tar, blackberry/raspberry, black tea, and a little bit of geranium on the nose, and I could tell it was still a little closed. In the mouth this wine is positively enormous. There is a lot of black fruit and a lot of tannin, echoing the nose, and the finish was full of earth, coffee, spice and a little hint of rose.
Then it sat around while we ate and such, and it started to open up and soften more. After about three hours in the decanter/glass, it has more fruit showing on the nose and the whole wine is integrating more. Overall, if you are looking for a huge fruit-driven wine that has some nice structure to it, this wine is for you. I would give it some more time in the bottle, though. I think I opened this one a little too early, even though I enjoyed it.
I can find no other mentions of this wine online (other than places selling it) other than an old Lazy Acres newsletter and some info over at Punt Wines. I am looking forward to other efforts these guys make, though.
Cost: I got this at Amphora Wine Merchant (now Arlequin) for about $24.