Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Tres Sabores Headline Red 2017

Julie Johnson’s Tres Sabores is a family-owned, certified organic, woman-led winery in Rutherford in Napa Valley. Julie started Tres Sabores in 1999 and currently produces her estate Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Cabernet Franc, Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Picpoul. In 2000, she started making Por Que No, a blend of the Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Petite Verdot. But a few years ago, she starting the Headline label to have fun and be playful with the grape varieties and blends. This week, I opened the 2017 Headline Red and it was just that….playful, fun, and delicious and that it why it is the Please The Palate wine of the week.

The 2017 Headline Red is an original blend of 90% St. Laurent and 10% Malbec. St. Laurent is a unique grape. An offspring of Pinot Noir and Traminer, St. Laurent is found in the Czech Republic and Austria. There are only approximately 5 acres planted in California. The grape was named St. Laurent because it was picked on Saint Laurent’s birthday. It is a highly aromatic dark-skinned wine grape that produces a wine that is low in tannin and low in alcohol.

In 2014, Julie ended up with 7 tons of St. Laurent thanks to her partner John Engelskirger. John had been consulting on a project and was in Carneros sourcing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Ricci Vineyard. He noticed a darker grape on the vines and knowing it wasn’t Pinot Noir, he asked Dale Ricci what it was. John was told it was an offspring of Pinot Noir so he asked if it was good. Dale said it was and that made John want some. Over the past five years, Julie and John have played with the St. Laurent. John has tried pet nat, carbonic maceration, whole cluster, punch downs, amphora, and more.

For the 2017 Headline, the St. Laurent was a mix of whole cluster and destemmed fruit. Julie added a little Malbec sourced from Sonoma to the St. Laurent to add a little more tannin to the wine. The wine was punched down by hand. The result is a totally quaffable wine! Fresh aromatics of red fruit notes, wild berries, and herbal notes give way to a light to medium bodied wine with bright acidity. The wine finishes with a savory, menthol note. This is a wine that will pair with spicy and savory foods, such as Thai, Indian, and Latin. And, add a chill to the wine and enjoy during the summer.

There were only 300 cases of the 2017 Headline Red made and it retails for $30. It also has a cool label that was inspired by Ecuadorian street art.

I truly enjoyed this wine with a casual dinner of grilled mustard chicken. I am excited to try the 2018 Headline which is St. Laurent blended with Grenache and Syrah!