MCF Rare Wine

Clos Saron: Beauty in Simplicity
'When I'm in California, nobody knows my name...but I come to NY city and I am a celebrity...people want to take my picture!'

So said Gideon Bienstock, proprietor of Clos Saron, right after I asked him to pose for the above picture so that I could use it in this email.

It was a funny comment kind of said in passing, but nonetheless you could tell he was also being serious.

When he started crafting completely hands-off, biodynamic wines in the Sierra Foothills in the late '90s, he was working in obscurity.

Now, his wines are what many in the 'new' generation of boutique, minimalist CA winemakers want to emulate.

He makes a range of red wines that all have names like 'Heart of Stone' or 'Deeper Shade of Blue' and, for the wines that are blends, the makeup will often change from year to year.  

It's often hard for me to come up with a way to communicate just how profound the experience of Gideon's wines can be.  They're certainly a departure, but they toe the line between traditionally-styled and adventurous/natural/funky quite perfectly.

In the end, they're beautifully pure, honest and that express the both their home (and the personality of their winemaker) perfectly.

Today, I'm really happy to offer my favorite two reds from the current release.

As always with Clos Saron, the wines are extremely limited.

The Pleasant Peasant 2015 $40
Even though many of Gideon's wines tend to be blends, what we have here is single-varietal.  The lovely, playful 'Pleasant Peasant' is 100% Carignan from vines planted in 1900.  It's a highly floral expression of Carignan that shows wonderful dark fruits, leathery, spicy nuances and a very refreshing acidity on the finish that gives it such a nimble quality.  I love it when Rhone varietals show that violet-y/flowery/perfumed element, and that's what I'm so drawn to here.  

Old Man's Reserve Syrah 2006 $65 (net, REG $73)
In addition to the current releases, Gideon almost always has some library wines available, and, currently, he's got this Syrah 'Old Man's Reserve' from 2006 for us and it shows, yet again, how beautifully his wines age.  This is 90% Syrah, 6% Roussanne, and 4% Petit Verdot from North Yuba and the dark, savory elements are on full display, though now with the years it has under its belt, the edges have softened to allow even more of the spiced, intensely-mineral elements to show.  The Roussanne adds the floral lift and the Petit Verdot, a touch of dark texture.  You're getting a whole lot of mature wine here for the money.


Matt Franco
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd
249 West 13th Street NYC 10011