The inaugural release from Hammell, the 2011 True Believer is a killer effort that shows what someone who watches yields and focuses on quality can do in a difficult vintage. A blend of 50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvedre, it had the Grenache aged in neutral oak and the Syrah and Mourvedre aged in new and once used barrels. Its deep, ruby, semi-opaque color is followed by a sexy, voluptuous and still weightless and elegant red that gives up tons of black raspberries, kirsch, peppery spice, lavender, licorice and leather on the nose. Deep, rich and concentrated, with a rare level of depth in a Grenache blend from California, this gorgeous 2011 can be drunk anytime over the coming 7-8 years. Bien Nacido’s rock-star vineyard manager, Chris Hammell, created his own label in 2011 and focuses mostly on Rhone varieties planted on the western edge of the Bien Nacido Vineyard. (JD)
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