Three Guys, Two Wines, One Obsessed New Fan
Chardonnay. Cabernet. So how are you to be bedazzled or even a little taken by varietals that so many producers bottle? Easy. When they’re done to this stratospherically savory extent. Before I get into the wines my and Three Fat Guys’ vin ami, Wes, sent me, you have to examine their story, which starts with genuine tempo and color. The elevated interest and tireless curiosity for and in wine. Tony Moll, one of the Guys and Owners of the this playful yet prominently tasty enclave of a label, tell me his fascination with wine started just before starting Three Fat Guys with partners Jason and Daryn. He tells me that in the off-season he’d go to local wine bars in Sonoma and just immerse himself in everything about wine. Oh and that’s another facet to this brand I find immeasurably interesting and encouraging as a wine consumer— all three played professional football, and those journeys together on the Road for the game is what actuated their chasing a more oeno-centric story. When home from the season, Tony would find his favorites, what he liked and didn’t like, and intensify his fondness and acuity in wine’s world.
He knew he wanted to create a “premium wine,” he tells me. Well, if I’m to react to such a remark, he failed gloriously. The Fat Guys’ wines are anything but premium, in my language— Words I’d employ then immediate deploy to this page are ‘cosmic’, ‘inspiring’, ‘vocal’, ‘inter-dimensional’… inexplicably delicious. The Chard and Cab Wes sent me were anything but template, anything but expected. Yes, the common consumer would note their “premium-ness”, but I find myself in uncommon sphere and state tasting these wines. What I tasted was something of a quality that we consumers wish for. You can find a simple “premium” bottle on the shelf at Safeway. This is different, another planet and page, story, narrative. What was in the bottle was true fermented magic, a lively literary quality that educates a sipper’s senses, like I jotted in the Composition book, “Moriarty-esque reflective madness”… But, again, more on that in a bit.
This is a small producer that’s not on the “I’m a small wine label” self-anointing chariot. What you have in your glass with TFG is three gentlemen who love wine. That’s it. The fervor of their fondness translates to what you sip, exponentially. You can only be smitten and seraphically instructed with their bottles. Tony tells me that he loves the reaction when people taste his wines, when people merely look at him and utter in tremor, “WOW.” Remember, these are offensive lineman, put on the field to protect the quarterback, to block, to be firm and stern. And how serendipitous in how they don’t care about notoriety, awards, scores, or any other kind of pseudo-prestige. They just want to be known for wine, wine that is “damn good wine” as he tells me. Well, with this motion, he and his Guys succeed ad nauseam.
I started with the Chardonnay as you might expect, the other night, hoping that I would taste something new from Chardonnay’s all-too-frequently harangued identity. First nudge of fragrance after opening bottle, smelling cork and then into bottle’s neck, was pair and vanilla, apple and a cinnamon-sewn pie crust. On palate, I was greeted with tame acidity coupled with the apple and pie crust, vanilla and almond, a little toast… lavender? There was a that jazzy weather I dream I’ll one day taste in Chardonnay. Finally encountered, finally taught something new. And as the wine invited and later fully embracing the temperature of the room, the texture became more sensual, the apple and pair soupçons more immediate, more visible and believable. The Chardonnay took on a haunting and persuasive, bewitching quality I’ve never experienced in a Cali’ white Burgundy. This was a new experience, and I was renewed as a wine lover.
I’m a “Cabernet guy” you could say, so I’m exceptionally welcoming and nearly a bastard critic with Cabs I’m sent. Like the Chardonnay, TFG’s Cab had a dark personality and widely-erotic electricity to every parcel of its palate. This is the wine that had the personality of Dean Moriarty, his wild charisma and irresistible allure. The fruit that spoke to me was in the purview of blackberry and dark chocolate-adorned cherry, then cocoa powder and espresso, a wink of mint and black licorice, smoke. Doing both its vineyard site, vintage, and varietal a marathon of justice. There was a rare coherence in this bottle, a bewildering synergy of all parts and personalities, measures and clefs. If one of these wines sends these gentlemen to some unseen notoriety, whether they want it or not, their Napa Cabernet offering will cement such.
Three lessons learned for the writer, here. 1, Chardonnay is the most extraordinarily effusive and gorgeous white varietal, if done the way these lineman have ordered. 2, if all Cabernets were done this well, I would not drink anything else. All other varietals would be hit with a preference asteroid which would tie them in certain extinction. And, 3, the focus of any small label—rather than telling everyone they’re a small label, or artisanal label, or some cult wine producer—should be to just make some damn good wine. Well decreed, Mr. Tony. These wines are unlike any expected palate presence of Chardonnay and Cabernet. Par conséquent, their unique beat, their instructional quality, their haunting stubbornness in anyone who sips.