2009 Skylark Red Wine, Las Aves, Mendocino County
14.9% alcohol, $26. | 200 cases | 42CS|25CG|25R|08GR
It seems like more and more, sommeliers are launching wine projects in California and most of those I have tried are at least solidly and thoughtfully made where they have a free hand to make small lots to emulate wines from classic regions of the world. A project I have followed for a number of years is Skylark, owned by a pair of sommeliers, John Lancaster, and Robert Perkins, who have worked together at Boulevard in San Francisco for over a decade. The pair launched the brand in 2002 vintage and have steadily grown a diversified portfolio of small-lot wines, primarily focused on their devotion to varieties grown in the Rhone, and Priorat with production on individual wines under 300 cases of each. Across the board, the wines are very solid. They even added a steel-fermented Chardonnay, called Alondra that is very pleasant in a variety of settings.
The Skylark offering that really jumped out at me was the Priorat-inspired blend, 2009 Las Aves, that even a week after evaluating still delivers some nice power. It shows a beautiful dense nose of blackberry, sweet hay, dried currant and plum; firm and smooth. The palate combines sweet elements of berry with essences of dried plums that bring a lot of that old world-character the partners strive for after their ‘magical’ visit to one of the oldest Carignane vineyards in Priorat. An easy choice for a dependable and approachable red wine offering extreme value. Drink 2012 -2016. www.skylarkwine.com