Bill Frick is a genteel man and skilled practitioner of gentle winemaking. Bill specializes in Rhone varieties, which he grows on the 7.7 acre estate he founded with his late wife Judith Gannon in 1976 in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. Here he hand-crafts small batches of single-varietal red and white wines and a handful of blends — 12 labels all told, totaling only around 1,400 cases each year. We recently had the pleasure of meeting Bill and tasting through his portfolio, and we found all his wines to be pure and elegant expressions of the varieties and of the Dry Creek Valley appellation. Two of Bill’s red blends are particularly noteworthy for bringing several varieties (some quite obscure) together into sumptuous harmony. Both are remarkably aromatic, flavorful, and complex without being heavy, and would serve with distinction and versatility over the holidays and beyond. They also offer exceptional quality for the price (as do all of Bill’s selections, which are each priced at $26). We share our tasting notes, below.
C3 | 2012 | $26 | 90 Points
C3 is a blend of the Rhone varieties Cinsaut (40%), Carignane (40%), and Counoise (20%), which Bill sources from his Frick Estate Owl Vineyard and an old benchland vineyard in the center of Dry Creek Valley. This is a seductive red, with suggestions of black cherry, cola, and baking spices on the nose; and on the palate, notions of cherry, raspberry, and mineral — all laced with hints of lavender, pine, and chalk over a vivid finish. The wine is bone-dry and medium-weight, with crisp acidity and mild tannins. It aged for 23 months in neutral oak barrels, enhancing texture while foregoing overt oak flavors. A harmonious, lovely red that will complement Asian stir-fry, grilled salmon, chicken curry, Veal Marsala, ratatouille, and other such savory or spicy fare.
(Bottled unfined and unfiltered | 14.8% ABV | 122 cases produced)
Lucia (pronounced “lu-chi-ah”), named in honor of Bill’s late winery dog, is a blend of Cinsaut (40%), Syrah (20%), Grenache (20%), and Counoise 20%, sourced from the Frick Estate Owl Vineyard and two other Dry Creek Valley vineyards. This is an earthy red, with aromas of brandied berries, graphite, and wood smoke followed by flavors of blackberry, sweet cured tobacco, and black tea leaf — all accented with flourishes of cracked peppercorn and leather over a savory finish. The wine is bone-dry and medium-weight, with mild acidity and tannins, and as with C3 there is little perceptible oak; it aged for 22 months in neutral oak barrels. Lucia strikes a deft balance between fruit and earth impressions and is a delicious Dry Creek Valley nod to the red blends of the southern Rhone. Serve it with medium-to-sharp cheeses, charcuterie, grilled steak, seared duck or tuna, coq au vin, roasted lamb, and other such hearty fare.
(Bottled unfined and unfiltered | 14.4% ABV | 121 cases produced)
Availability: Given Frick Winery’s small production, C3 and Lucia are available only from the winery directly. For more information, visit Bill virtually at www.frickwinery.com, or in person at the Frick Tasting Room, 23072 Walling Road, Geyserville, California.