I’m a member of a group of winemakers known as The Outsiders, our forces marshaled by Louise Hurren. And in anticipation for our London tasting on November 10th, this article is an exploration of what being an outsider even means.
What the heck is an outsider?
There are people in this world who just always end up in weird situations. Outsiders will regularly surprise you. Not with contrived novelty. Not by jumping from behind a corner and shouting “Boo!” But by being genuinely and irrepressibly strange.
Am I an outsider?
Being a winemaker at a highly technical web conference gave me several glimpses of that priceless moment of surprise. Somebody says, “I’m a front end UX designer.” Somebody else says, “I’m a coder working on the W3C”. I say, “I’m a winemaker.” [small double take] In that moment, the true definition of outsider emerges. Somebody who is so unusual in the milieu, that they can contribute real insight. It might not always be great insight, but it’ll be original.
But if being a winemaker makes me an outsider to the tech world, doesn’t that mean I’m an insider in the wine world. Well, honestly, if you know anything about me, you know that’s not true. I’m a first generation winemaker with no training, certifications, or degrees. I was born and raised in a part of the US where award winning wine production is dominated by fermented fruit concentrate with flavors added (no joke, definitely a link worth clicking). I just love wine and I’m pretty good at making it.
People ask why
People also ask how. But all these questions are very hard to answer. I don’t have a rule book or manifesto that guides my decision making. I guess that’s also part of being a natural-born outsider. Who knows why we do the crazy things we do? But when you look at our amazing lives, our beautiful countrysides, our delicious wines, et cetera. . . don’t your questions fade away?
Sharing the Outsider Experience
I hope the Outsiders Tasting in London this November 10th will give a lot of people a glimpse of true weirdness. Not that the wines will be over the top, heavy-handed efforts to surprise you. They’ll just be effortlessly surprising. Because we’re all genuinely strange people. And we can’t help but make interesting wines.
Who exactly are the Outsiders?
At the London tasting, we will be many. In no particular order:
OUTSIDERS TASTING – Documentation for the wines and bios for the winemakers attending the Outsiders Tasting. The bios in this pack explains the outside angle for each of the winemakers.
We are very proud to discover that Tamlyn Currin, a writer at JancisRobinson.com, has included us in a review of some of the top winemaking “Estranhièrs” in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
We’re in very good company and this is the kind of content that makes you want to subscribe to Jancis’ purple pages. It’s a great compilation of winemakers for people who are eager to discover the amazing diversity of the Languedoc Roussillon.
Tamlyn has also written some of my favorite reviews for my wines to date. The Mojo has “sassy red berry fruit” (Awesome. I’ll be using that a lot.) The Syrah has “Damson by the bucket load” (That’s a type of plum. One that we actually grow on the vineyard.)
And the Proprietor’s Reserve review goes back and forth between long, narrative sentences and sharp, captivating notes. The review matches the wine. I’m very proud of my parents and me. 🙂
O’Vineyards, Proprietor’s Reserve 2006 Cabardès 16.5+ Drink 2010-2015
Six barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 barrels of Syrah and 12 barrels of Merlot. Fermented and aged in new French oak for 18-20 months.
A perfume that made me close my eyes, just to breathe it in. Sweet damson, spiced dried fruit, figs and wet tea leaves. Rich and chocolatey, with plenty of dark plum tang and cinnamon. This tastes much more American than Languedoc – something that is more or less what I have noticed in all their wines. Very long. Velvety. Hedonistic. (TC) 13.5%
Toward the end, I wonder if I’m really making American-styled wines and whether or not making new world wines is mutually exclusive with being true to the Languedoc terroir. But I don’t want to dwell on that right now. I want to dwell on velvety hedonism. I really love these reviews and I’m so happy to be featured on Jancis’ site. She wrote a lot of the reference material that got my dad and me into wine in the first place. And Tamlyn is a charm.
The rest of our reviews have been incorporated into the website for each wine: Mediterranean Mojo, O’Syrah, Trah Lah Lah, Les Americains, and Proprietor’s Reserve.
To discover the other estates reviewed in the article “Estranhièrs in Languedoc-Roussillon“, you’ll have to subscribe to the Purple Pages! You’ll get to read about some of my good friends in the Languedoc and Roussillon. The estates included in the reviews are Rives Blanques, Domaine Treloar, Domaine Ste-Croix, Domaine Jones, Chateau D’Angles (which we actually considered buying in 2004!), and Chateau des Estanilles (who has a long overdue Love That Languedoc episode in the pipes).