Tin Barn Vineyards celebrates those hidden treasures that lie off map. Our wines highlight the true character of Sonoma County. High atop the ridges of the Sonoma Coast, just off Tin Barn Road, lies a remote plot of Syrah vines. From this fog-enshrouded slope, we sourced grapes for our very first wine and derived inspiration for our name.
In the years since, winemaker Michael Lancaster and his business partners have made a fitting home in our own “tin barn”—a warehouse in rural Sonoma that serves as both cellar space and tasting room. Here, we’ve joined with fellow artisan winemakers to form the collective known as Eighth Street Wineries.
Come visit sometime! Remember, though, that a map will only get you so far.
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I can’t lie: I love surprises. And there aren’t many better surprises out there than being selected for the LabRat program. In this case, the timing could not have been more perfect: my last day of work before vacation and my brother visiting from the left coast. It was time to get busy exploring this new offering.
And while I may be a fan of the film, Sideways, I’ve always been very agreeable when it came to Merlot. Sure, it can be generic and boring. But it can also be interesting and fun. But in my limited experience, it has never been great (still waiting for that LabRat bottle of Petrus to arrive). Comprising less than 5% of our cellar, it’s a variety I definitely need to explore and learn more about.
While this was my first Tin Barn experience, I was somewhat familiar with Pickberry Vineyard, having a few Zepaltas cab francs from that site. I was impressed with those and eager to jump into this one.
We chose to sample the wine at an Italian BYO that was new to us and brought along a 2015 Twisted Oak Graciano for comparison. Reflections listed below.
SWMBO: Easy to drink but stood up very well with the lobster ravioli she had. Fruity with good spice and good acid. Generally doesn’t like Merlot, but really liked this and preferred it to the Graciano. Would be happy to drink again.
Me: Color, deep garnet with good clarity and no bricking
Aroma: reticent at first with some cherry and a slight whiff of alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Rich and full bodied. This leaves a good coating across the the palate without being cloying or syrupy.
Taste: I first tried the wine blind and immediately caught some spice and oak. The spice first made me think Zin, but the full body and smooth tannins promised something else. I did not guess Merlot.
The label describes blueberries, which I did not pick up, but the anise and vibrant acidity were definitely there. It was a great match for my eggplant rollitini starter and gnocchi sorrentina main course.
We saved some for day 2 and I don’t think much has changed. Perhaps a bit more open, still shy on the nose but the cherry did come out a bit more. Overall flavor profile held steady. I can say with some confidence that this wine should age for several more years at least.
Overall, I really enjoyed this wine. I guessed the Casemates (case) price point at around $200, so anything below that would be a screaming deal in my opinion. I’m really tempted to pick some up myself, but I’m still recovering from a purchase spree that started in Sonoma last fall through the first half of 2022. Regardless, this is definitely an offering worthy of your attention.
I’ve seen this one a couple times before but never tried any, so…just checking boxes:
Good rat report
Case savings above 20%?
If anyone in SE Michigan is getting some, I could take a few.