Touchy-Feely

Touchy-Feely is about sensations.  Touchy-Feely is graceful and dances with joy.  It’s a wine lighter than air; it elevates.  At the same time, it’s a wine that has an extraordinary length both in palate and in the nose.  As all good memories, Touchy-Feely endures. 

Touchy-Feely is entirely Rhône.  Its Grenache side gives it femininity, elegance.  Its minor Rhône brother adds a tad of weight, just enough to keep it grounded, of body & structure. 

Touchy-Feely is a different Rhône, our take of dancing in summer.  Its colors are almost claret.  It’s a wine that works at an angle, in a different realm, a different dimension.  It’s a wine which requires choices.  It does not allow indifference.  It is non-commercial and follows no beaten path.  It is what some vineyards achieve when they dare to be themselves.

Vintage 2013 winemaker's notes

241 cases produced.  80% Grenache and 20% Syrah.
We farm both grapes at Terra Bella Vineyard, which at 1800 feet, is the highest Grenache and Syrah in the Paso Robles Adelaida District. 

Touchy-Feely wine - She’s not sixteen anymore.  She’s nineteen.  She’s in college, and the world is a bigger place.  The nose slowly wakes up.  First a note of spices.  Then a freshness of red fruits.  As the inhalation lengthens, layers of complexity slowly develop. Slowly.  A very feminine note, but subtle.  Slowly, a bit shy.

In the mouth, the immediate sensation is freshness.  Vibration.  Intensity.  But the playfulness of other vintages has transmuted into more grown-up poise.  Serenity.  A texture of silk as the wine slides across the mouth.  A tension of tannin that repeats the more serious notes that the 2013 vintage shows.  After tasting, the empty palate remembers a note of vivacious and fresh fruit, held up by fine grained tannins and a suggestion of salinity.

Vintage 2013 reviews

The nose is fruit forward of ripe, soft raspberry and notes of crisp black currant purity.  The palate is more of a brilliant ripe raspberry on entry with a beautiful core of precise red fruits finishing with an effortlessly integrated acidity.   Drink 2017 - 2023.
94 points; Purely Domestic Wine Report   March 2017

The 2013 Touchy-Feely is an attractive blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah also sourced from the Terra Bella vineyard.   The addition of the Syrah gives this wine added depth and roundness while maintaining its elegance and overall silky texture.   The aging of the wine in 500L puncheons and used barriques nicely moderates the oak influence on the wine.
93 points; International Wine Review  December 2016

Review not yet released.
92 points; Wine Enthusiast  May 2017

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Vintage 2012 winemaker's notes

294 cases produced.  77% Grenache and 23% Syrah.

An intense, floral nose, deep and complex.  In the first sip, fresh, red fruit.  Deep and tightly woven fruit texture - closer to silk than to velvet - giving support to a bigger character than 2011 Touchy-Feely.  Vibrant tones.  Some dry herbs.  A very attractive minerality merging with extremely fine grained tannin.  The tannin is more an impression than a physical sensation.

And bringing everything together, a touch of warmth.  A welcome smile!  Demure but playful….. In the empty mouth, the mineral note persists…. I love how the Grenache character is so influenced by the elevation of the vineyard.  Touchy-Feely shows a Grenache that has a more feminine character due to the altitude.  Not burly, elegant.  Not rustic, refined. 
Touchy.  And Feely.

Vintage 2012 reviews

Bright, very rich fruit but it remains fresh.  Full body, velvety tannins.  Loads of fruit.  Tangy.  Shows the limestone brightness here.  Excitingly intense fruit and freshness.  Drink or hold.
93 points; James Suckling  October 2015

The nose is pure blue fruit with excellent weight and polish accented with lilting floral tones.  The palate offers lush strawberry and blackberry with a supple core of bright extracted piquant red berry.  Beautiful wine.  Drink 2016 - 2023.
92 points; purely domestic wine report  December 2015

Plum and olallieberry fruits hit the nose quickly on this blend of 77% Grenache and 23% Syrah, followed by aromas of wet sagebrush, peppercorn, delicate potpourri and a hint of tar. Once sipped, boysenberry and black-plum flavors pick up cola, oregano and marjoram complexity.
92 points; Wine Enthusiast   May 2016

Saturated ruby. Powerful, mineral-accented cherry and red berries on the highly perfumed nose. Supple and seamless in texture, offering deep black raspberry and cherry cola flavors enlivened by zesty acidity. Blends richness and vivacity with a deft hand and finishes with excellent clarity and strong, smoky persistence.  2017 - 2023
92 points; Vinous   September 2016

Very much in the deep, extracted, concentrated fruit style of the winery, this rich, highly expressed bottling leads with suggestions of strawberries and blackberries and yet, for all of its palate weight and high ripeness, it retains its role as table wine for the way its fruit and lush yet balanced feel keeps it on track for uses with savory, long-cooked pork or lamb roasts over the next five years or so.
91 points; Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine  March 2016

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Vintage 2011 winemaker's notes

2011 Touchy-Feely shows in first term, our love affair with the Grenache from Terra Bella Vineyard.  As years go by, we’re finding increased levels of minerality, while keeping intact both the feminine side of dancing red fruits (freshness!!!! strawberries? some red cherries?), and the fine-grain tannin that gives it backbone.  We’ve increased the percentage of Grenache to 81% of the blend!  The balance is Syrah, also from Terra Bella.  Syrah provides a bit more depth of color, some spicy notes, and a wildness that keeps this wine clearly away from the more civilized wines that are made with Bordeaux varieties instead of Rhône varieties.

Aromatics are complex and convincing as soon as you put your nose into the glass (remember: no civilized sniffing from afar!  Glass touching your eyebrows, nose full in the glass, and after a while, a red smudge where your nose meets the glass.)

Mouthfeel is fresh, drinkable, with coherence between aromatic notes and flavors.  And the length!  I love how the memory of this wine in empty mouth reflects that space where tannin and minerality meet and form a bridge into the next sip.

Vintage 2011 reviews

Matched the highest score from Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine for any vintage 2011 Grenache-based wine.

This is really beautiful and refined with strawberry and cherry aromas and flavors.  Medium body, delicate tannins and a fresh finish.  Long and flavorful.
92 points; James Sucking October 2015

The nose is fragrant violet pastille, black rasberry and briar.  Subtle notes of grapefruit skin and cherry.  The palate has a lush fruit entry complemented by firm acidity and supple red fruit/spice in the core.  Well put together.  Drink 2015 - 2020.
92 points; purely domestic wine report  April 2015

Fully ripened and so very nicely fruited, supple and even drifting a bit to the fleshy side in mouthfeel without going too far, this wine, like so much of what the winery produces, is both rich and hedonistically pleasing on the one hand and full of energy, longevity and promise on the other. Its high concentration may smack of the fruit-centric character that is decried in some circles, but this is California and we are going to make wines in that style some of the time. So, be forewarned. This is not a wine for the faint of heart, but, for the rest of us, it is one that will suit in any setting calling for depth and richness. And putting it in the cellar for a bit would not hurt.  
90 points; Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine  March 2015

Vintage 2010 reviews

Tied for the highest score given by Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine for any Grenache-based wine in the last 10 years.

This intense, impressively extracted wine is one of serious and obvious intent right from the start.  Its compact, deeply filled nose of ripe berries, stones, dark soils and spice are followed up with lengthy, like-minded flavors, and, if a fairly potent and muscular wine, it is surprisingly well-structured and never become muscle bound.  It's minor touch of finishing heat is a small price to pay for this kind of richness and depth, and there is little question that it will age famously and should improve for years to come.
91 points; Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine  March 2014 

Complex and vibrant, with juicy tart raspberry, wild berry and cranberry notes, gaining depth and ending with a long, lingering finish. Drink now through 2021.  
91 points; WS 2013

It boasts very ripe aromas of huckleberry and plum with an earth/stem component. While full flavored it is still very young and tightly wound with high acidity and firm tannins on the palate with hints of loam and cocoa powder.  Aged in new French oak for 24 months, the alcohol level (15.5%) is quite high compared to the other 2010s.  A delicious Peter Pan-like wine that will hopefully age well.  
91+ points; International Wine Review September 2013

A pretty, beautifully balanced effort that offers up notions of kirsch liqueur, black raspberry, toasted spice and licorice to go with a medium to full-bodied, supple and polished palate.  Fresh, clean and elegant, with building richness that comes through with air, it should impress now through 2020.  
90 points; WA August 2013

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