NV Thackrey "Pleiades" XXVI

NV Thackrey

¥5,500 (incl. tax)

The constellation Pleiades is a tight agglomeration of stars so bunched together one needs to look carefully to make out the individual components. That may be an apt analogy for this non-vintage wine formed of an odd blend of grapes from the old vine vineyards available to Sean Thackrey in a particular year. With no benchmark or tradition serving as a model, this wine is truly the result of one winemaker’s creative take on a vintage. This blend likely includes Sangiovese, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Mourvedre, but only Thackrey knows for sure. Indeed, about this wine Sean Thackrey has said, "It's like a chef's special. You trust the chef so you're prepared to order the dish of the day.”  


Winery Description

It’s no secret that California winemaking attracts plenty of entrepreneurs and artisans,  characters who seem larger than life. But in a world of “class acts,” Sean Thackrey occupies a class of his own. He crafts his wines in a redwood barn in Bolinas, a small town on the coast about 45 km north of San Francisco – i.e. nowhere near the wine country. He came to winemaking with no experience, after a successful career as an art dealer. Aside from a course or two on winemaking chemistry, he is entirely self-taught. Indeed, he derives more knowledge from obscure winemaking texts hundreds of years old than from any newfangled research to come out of UC Davis. As a result, his methods are quirky and instinctual compared with those used by more empirical winemakers. He’s been known to improvise his way through a harvest, deciding on the spot whether or not to soak, to de-stem, to ferment warm or cool, to punch down or to pump over. He says turning grapes into wine is like a cook turning salmon into a meal. The methods are there to make delicious wine from a particular lot of grapes – not to serve principal or notions of correctness.   

Nevertheless, Thackrey is one of the true pioneers in the art of discovering and making wine from old, neglected vineyards. Thackrey made his first Orion, a field blend of mostly Syrah from an old vineyard near Yountville, in 1983. This was during the first great Chardonnay boom, when more Zinfandel went into “White Zinfandel” than was made red and full-bodied. However, the critical acclaim for Thackrey’s constellation-named old vine blends has led more winemakers as well as old farming families to recognize the value in these vineyards lurking along the back roads of Napa, Sonoma and Mendicino counties. Unfortunately, Thackrey has sometimes lost a good source of fruit as when a vineyard is sold to a more deep-pocketed winery. 

Currently Thackrey produces about 5,000 cases a year of proprietary blends and varietal wines. As for the stars and constellations that name his wines, he’s said they are a “symbol of the antiquity and mystery of my craft, which I could have practiced essentially unchanged in the Sumeria of the Gilgamesh epic.”

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) California
Winery Thackrey
Vintage NV
Color Red
Varietal(s) Sangiovese, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, etc.
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.0 x 30.0
Case Size 34.5 x 26.0 x 31.0
Alcohol 15.1%
Product Code THPL26
UPC 860359001413

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

An aromatically expressive nose of red berries, minerals, and notes of hibiscus, anise and rose petal lead to lush flavors of cranberry, cherry, and plum. Thackrey says, “Fragrant and voluptuous when first released, it will become far more subtle and complex with a year or two of bottle age.” 



Thackrey harvests the grapes himself and ferments the must in a redwood tank outside his winery in Bolinas.

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