By Celia Strong
Every once in a while you get a chance to get something special at a special price. These days, what with the economy doing whatever it’s doing, it seems we are getting more and more wines at new lower prices all the time, which makes us all happy, or I hope it does. This week, we have another one of these new deals.
Manifesto is the label on the wine. With cooler weather upon us, today’s wine is not white but red. Cabernet Sauvignon to be precise.
Manifesto is the dream “winery” of several young people in the wine business. Please note, that by young, I merely mean younger than I am. And, from what I know of them, they are all younger guys. But, good for them. They’ve all been in the wine business for several decades, each, at a variety of levels and positions — some at wineries, some at wholesalers. They all really know what makes a “good” wine and what makes a “sell-able” wine, and those two are not necessarily the same thing. However, a good sellable wine is the best of all and that’s what their goal is. The great part is that they are having fun doing what they love to do. Just so you know, the entire idea for these several friends joining together to make wine with their own label on it came from a surfing trip to Costa Rica.
The “manifesto” of this young group is really clear in some of their favorite sayings. “Chill. We’re good at the wine stuff. You focus on everything else.” And they want all of their wine drinkers to be part of their social network. A face-to-face, physical, social network. “We want this to be a social network where — whoa, big concept here — you’re actually social. like, face-to face. Because this social network isn’t, can’t be, virtual. You have to use an actual hand to twist open a bottle. You’ll have to invite people over to share some killer wine and BS for hours. And, you’ll have to hang out with someone if you want a picture of you riding a wave with your Manifesto tee-shirt on.” It really does sound like fun, doesn’t it.
So, what about Manifest? It’s not like your usual typical winery. Actually, there isn’t a real winery. Many of the wines that we have loved over the years are made at wineries from grapes grown near them, but the person who “owns” the grapes is not spending money on owning a winery and finds one to rent him their facilities to make wine from his grapes. This leaves more money available to buy better grapes to make better wine without having to make payments to the bank for a big building, crushing machines, bottling lines, barrels and a whole lot more. And, for their grapes, the Manifesto team chose an “earth first” approach. This led them down the path of sustainable farming practices. Also, it has taken them to a “dirt and tractor” style of wine making and meaningful relationships with their farmers. They do it all in the vineyards, from pruning to harvest. (Then they go surfing, again, and drink Manifesto!)
Our Manifesto wine of choice this week is the 2007 cabernet sauvignon. (The 2007 vintage was pretty awesome for most of California.) The grapes for this wine came from two different ranches, “kind of a yin and yang.” For fermentation, a wild yeast was used which enhances a wide range of aromas and flavors in the finished wine. The fermented wine was barrel aged in 140 barrels, six of them were new oak. (Just, FYI, that makes 3,500 cases.) How precise is that — six new oak barrels for just a kiss of that flavor? Pretty hands-on, isn’t it? But, the finished 2007 cab is bold, has heady aromas of blackberry, bramble and wild strawberry. The flavors echo these aromas and move on to currants, cigar box tobacco and a touch on minerality that’s like pencil lead, or what used to be pencil lead. All of which means we get layers and layers of flavors and textures. And that’s good.
For food, we have to assume surfers eat too. So, yes, think red meat with this wine, grilling steaks with friends while you sip some, and after dinner popping some chocolate with it. Or, if it’s too early for dinner, just enjoying this wine with friends and family. Remember face-to-face social.
And, finally, what about this deal that I mentioned? Glad you asked. The original cost of this wine, to share with family and friends, is $18. 99. But, as we all know, everyone may not get as much as they really want at that price. So, now, it’s $9.99 a bottle. Which pretty much means we can all have our own bottle. And, I know that’s plenty. For one night. And, at that price, we can all go back to Manifesto cabernet sauvignon again, and again, and again. Think of all those friends, steaks, chocolate kisses and good times. Enjoy!