2023 Library Release
A few weeks ago, Bettina and I planned to taste a few back vintage bottles of Bryant Family Vineyard and DB4 together to prepare for the upcoming library offer. Not only is it due diligence to check in on the wines before releasing – examine the corks and capsules and assess how wines are evolving – but it is also an opportunity to rewind through time, to wend and reflect on Bryant’s roots and path. My eagerness was running high when we sat to taste on a Monday afternoon in the upstairs room at the winery that overlooks Bryant Family Vineyard. I cannot express enough how truly extraordinary it is to experience wines of history, wines that not only embody various epochs dating back to the Helen Turley days, but also wines that taste so vivacious and transcendent. It was an invigorating, humbling, and motivating endeavor. Perhaps it is analogous to descending upon a treasured artifact, perfectly preserved, that you not only appreciate for its history and beauty, but, since it is wine, you can also physically – not just emotionally or cognitively – form connection and understanding.
I am extremely fortunate I had the chance to taste these bottles with Bettina. While I confess a tiny piece of me feels a tinge of sadness that these wines – some of which have never been sold at all, or not since their initial release decades ago – are leaving their homes in the cool and quiet confines of the Bryant cave, we are excited that you may have the opportunity to connect with these wines the way that we do. You will create your own moments, bonds and memories that are intertwined with that bottle of wine, from Bryant Family Vineyard to DB4, and all that the wine encompasses.
The takeaway in tasting the Bryant Family Vineyard lineup was that the vineyard shines through the wines. The hillside property 900 feet above Lake Hennessey on Pritchard Hill, with its various aspects, slopes, and soils, is naturally situated on special ground. While there are vintage variations, site threads through each and every wine. It is a simple, age-old, yet profound concept: each wine represents vineyard, and is vineyard. It is the core, basis, and crux of the wine. The tannins are structured yet effortless, and there is fruit weight with a sage and olive tapenade character.
In addition to the Bryant Family Vineyard wines in the library offer, Bettina is also releasing a single back vintage of DB4. The 2013 DB4, at “ten years young”, as Bettina says, demonstrates how the DB4, while approachable in its youth, ages gracefully. When we tasted it, we expected the wine to show well, but we were particularly enamored with the complexity, structure and depth that the “second wine” offers. For those of you who do not know, DB4 is a Bordeaux blend of the Bryant Family Vineyard and BETTINA barrels that tends to be more accessible upon release, but, as evidenced by the tasting, it is a serious wine that delivers a decade plus.
All the wines can be opened now, or they can age as they reside in their new homes, in your cellars. The 1990s wines can continue to age for another ten years, at least. The younger vintages, particularly those in larger formats, could be enjoyed now, or allowed to soar for decades to come.
We hope you enjoy and find as much pleasure and inspiration from the wines as we do.