Concannon Crimson & Clover 2009, Livermore Valley
What: This is an incredible silky, smooth red blend that pairs well with food, but is great for sipping by itself.
Velvety is an often overused word with wine, but it is exactly the right description of Crimson & Clover. Aromas of clove and vanilla lead to flavors of ripe blackberries and plums with a spicy finish that offers hints of tobacco.
It’s a bold, exuberant wine that has a real depth and complexity of flavor to make it an interesting wine at a nice dinner. This also is a good wine for day dreaming.
I think what makes the wine so interesting is its unusual blend: 50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Zinfandel. The wine is aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. As the layers of flavor roll through your mouth, you can pick up something special from each of the grapes.
Crimson & Clover was made as a tribute to Jim Concannon, who celebrated his 80th birthday this summer. He produced America’s first Petite Sirah. The clover is the traditional Irish symbol for prosperity, and crimson pays homage to the bright, deep red color of the blend.
This first release is part of the Conservancy portfolio. All Concannon Conservancy wines are sources completely from grapes grown in Livermore vineyards protected from urban encroachment by a conservation trust that preserves the land forever.
Winery: Concannon is known for great Bordeaux and Rhone style wines. Their estate vineyards were first planted by James Concannon in 1883 when he and his wife Ellen moved to the Livermore Valley from Ireland. The home they built still sits on the Concannon estate.
The current owner is their great-grandson, James Concannon, the fourth generation to run the family business.
The family has been among the pioneers in California wine development. Concannon is the first successful winery to be founded by an Irish immigrant. When James Concannon planted white Bordeaux cuttings in the late 1800s, Concannon became one of the first wineries to make Bordeaux-style wines in California.
In 1950 they hired the first professional female winemaker, Katherine Vajda. In 1961 they introduced America’s First Petite Sirah, a wine that has become extremely popular over the years. The Concannon inaugural vintage was so well-received that they have produced it ever since, and it has become their flagship wine.
Later they worked to create the widely adopted Cabernet Sauvignon clones 7, 8 and 11, also known as the Concannon clones, now planted in many of Napa’s most prestigious vineyards.
They have committed to green technology and sustainable farming, including installing solar panels on 80% of the winery’s roof. The historic redwood winery was restored to preserve the best of the past, while allowing for future growth. Redwood staves from large vintage casks previously used for wine aging have been reclaimed for the new Concannon Vineyard Tasting Bar, and used as wood panel accents throughout the Tasting Room.
Goes with: I had this with hamburgers on the grill one night and thick, juicy steaks another. It was perfect with both. It probably would go well with a steak and mushroom pie or Irish lamb stew.