The Best Wine You’ve Never Heard Of

I had my first — and only — bottle of Sean Thackrey’s wine on May 24, 2002, a bottle of the 1995 Orion (which the label professed not to know what grape varietal it was made of but which was likely Syrah), which I found in a mixed case lot at a Bonhams & Butterfield wine auction. My tasting notes read: “Fabulous plum and black cherry, no tannin, hint of spice and pepper, nuts, hazelnut, excellent balance. A perfect Syrah in every way. A+” If it is Syrah, that is.

Attempts to locate additional bottles of Orion have failed, though once in a while I see it at absurd prices on wine lists. (I paid 25 bucks, an equally absurd bargain.)

Now San Francisco Magazine is making it even harder for me. It’s gushing profile of Thackrey elevates his wine into the realm of the cult bottlings, but it provides some deep insight into the man, an idiosyncratic winemaker if ever there’s been one. The photos alone tell a fantastic story, which you should go read now if you’re a wine lover at all.

The good(?) news: Thackrey is looking to increase production, so perhaps I’ll get another shot at Orion before I die. Will the quality remain the same? Let’s hope for the best!

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