Each lot began its journey in traditional French and American wine barrels. Then, in true 1000 Stories fashion, winemaker Bob Blue divided the blend, finishing it in a combination of new and used bourbon barrels. The result is a signature 1000 Stories profile: a bold wine with intriguing notes of dried herbs, charred vanilla and a pleasant hint of smoke.
Vintage and Winemaker Notes
2016 1000 Stories Gold Rush Red, California
“Years ago, when I was just starting out as a winemaker, it was almost unheard of to get French oak wine barrels and American oak barrels were for whisky, not wine. But we still needed barrels to age our wine, so we purchased new and used bourbon barrels. Today, American and French oak wine barrels are commonplace, so the inspiration for 1,000 Stories is a nod to the way things were.”
Winery: 1000 Stories
Maker: Bob Blue
Bob Blue, Maker & Storyteller
Years ago, when I was just starting out as a winemaker, wine barrels were not widely available and American oak barrels were for whiskey, not wine. But we still needed barrels to age our wine, so we purchased (and neutralized) used bourbon barrels. Today, American and French oak wine barrels are commonplace, so aging 1000 Stories in bourbon barrels is a nod to the way things were. Now, instead of neutralizing the unique nuances of the bourbon barrels, we use them to enhance the complexity of the wine.
1000 Stories is made – like craft spirits and beer – in small lots, each unique and expressive of Winemaker Bob Blue’s interpretation of the fruit, vineyards and barrels whose singular qualities came together to create something new. Each batch offers an opportunity for discovery. Maturing 1000 Stories in new and used bourbon barrels from some of America’s finest bourbon distilleries lends nuance and enhances Zinfandel’s signature red fruit and spice notes. Because Bob knows a balanced wine can only come from a restrained approach to these intensely flavored barrels, he begins the aging process in traditional French and American oak wine barrels before transitioning lots to the bourbon barrels. This small-lot approach, together with insightful sourcing and careful management in the cellar, elicits the polished character, layered flavors and elegantly bold nature 1000 Stories has become known for.
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Tasted about an hour after opening and aerating in to a glass. The first thing that really struck me is this specific flavor I have had with Italian Marasca candied cherries (a very dark and rich maraschino cherry), followed up by those vegetal and herbal flavors in the form of bell pepper and basil. It is a little sweeter than I expected for a Cab forward wine, but I would guess it is the Syrah, Petite Sirah, and bourbon barrel aging doing their part to get it there. The bourbon barrel flavor is there as a background characteristic, but it does not overwhelm.
To compare the Gold Rush Red blend to a bottle of 1000 Stories bourbon barrel aged Zin that I had last year, today’s red blend has less of a bourbon profile, but it is much more nuanced and a smoother drink overall. Also, the oak is dialed down, making for a much easier drinking wine than I was expecting.
Both myself and guests that tried it all agreed, much to our surprise, that this red blend is a great summer weather red! I enjoyed it on its own without any food, and could happily relax with a glass or two on the porch in this season’s warm weather.
Taste With Food:
It worked really well on the first night with a rib eye cooked in a fresh rosemary garlic butter. This unique red was quite complementary to the flavors of a classic steakhouse style meal.
Trying another glass on the second night, the brightness of plum showed up, which was a nice addition. I had it with chicken parmesan and the tomato sauce seemed to bring out the basil flavor in the wine, as well as a bit of grass (in a good way). I love a nice Chianti with red sauce, but the Gold Rush Red did a fine job and I’d pair them again.
I sipped a little bit more late on the second day and the vegetal and grassy notes had given way to more of that dark cherry, plus some blackberry and cassis.
My overall impression is that this works as both a unique bourbon barrel aged red, and as a great red blend in general. The dark candied cherry and blackberry forward flavors, followed up by the vegetal and herbal notes and that hint of sweetness and bourbon, make for a unique blend that I could drink all year long. Great with multiple meals that you would typically drink a red with, and I also enjoyed it on its own without food.
Prior to seeing the Casemates price, a great QPR in my mind was around 12 or 13 dollars a bottle, and that anything lower is an incredible deal. Now, seeing the price, there will definitely be a case coming my way!
Though 1000 Stories may not be a pedigreed wine, I’ve purchased it from my local grocery store and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s very full-bodied with notes of smoke, leather, and black fruit. It’s a wine I like to drink with my girlfriends. I usually see it for sale for about $12-$15/bottle. The case price here is a good deal for a wine you can drink now with abandon.
I couldn’t care less about pedigree - wine David has introduced me to many excellent producers over the years. But for me the Bourbon barrel is a no go. Although this rat report makes it sound like this is the least offensive Bourbon barrel wine I’ve yet seen.
@kookie00@rjquillin Nope, haven’t tried it, and if I’m being honest the only way I’d try another one of these is if a bottle happened to be open near me. Just not going to spend more money on bourbon barrel aged things that are not hard liquor.
@klezman@rjquillin understandable. SB is the only bourbon barrel wine I’ve liked and it is delicious. A local restaurant featured it and now no store can keep it in stock in the area. If you see it, grab a bottle.
I like red wine and I like bourbon. Good rat report and good report from someone else who knows this wine. If I had not just bought a case from Casemates earlier in the week, I might be in for a case as a daily drinker.
Color: Dark purple. If I didn’t know any better, must be some PS to make it this dark. Interestingly quite a nice, bright ruby red at the edges, not the lighter purple I would expect.
Smell: Dark fruit, some blue?, vanilla, more sweet (SWMBO noted “honey”, maybe from the bourbon barrel?)
Palate: Pop N Pour - very tight tannins and astringent alcohol. not pleasant. I went back to look at the bottle and noted the high alcohol. After 5 minute rest in the large bordeaux glass, much different wine. Tannins softened greatly and no discernible alcohol. More black berries and vanilla. A little soft on the mid palate, but not flabby. some cigar and ceder on the finish. Is that the bourbon barrel? After 15 minutes, the fruit moderated, not quite as in your face new world style jamminess. A bit more refined. Not a huge degree of nuance, mind, but definitely more balanced. An hour in, not much change.
Next day - fruit markedly faded, but not much to replace it. possibly more herbal/vegetal, but mostly just tasted “less”.
Notes from SWMBO - Sweet, fruit forward, hints of honey. Goes down easy, and quite enjoyable. - she actually drank the whole glass plus another half glass, and usually only drinks half to one glass tops, so clearly enjoyed it.
Overall: nothing to write home about, but an easy, drink now quaffer after just a few minutes of breathing. I think it presents as sweeter due to the alcohol and the bourbon barrel influence. QPR price guesstimate $10-12.
Interesting note - I was in Boise for work two days ago and saw this at Trader Joe’s for $15.
@jasisk Thank you for mentioning the Trader Joes price! I am a cheapo who mainly shops wine at TJs and Costco, so it’s always nice to get a price and/or flavor profile comparison with the more widely available bottles. Or maybe I’m a rare wine Philistine
@rjquillin just on the counter in the bottle. about 250ml of wine in bottle. For comparison, we recently had a “Help Yourself”. It tasted very similar to the previous day after ~24 hours of being on the counter in an undisturbed bottle, whereas the 1000 Stories lost most of the fruit.