Timing is everything, they say. And it would appear that Nicasio’s Patrick McNeil and his proprietary wine delivery company, Wines That Deliver, would agree with them.
“I’ve been working on this project for years and really got this to the point where I was ready to deliver my wine, and then all of this happened,” he says in regard to the current pandemic and easing shelter in place situation.
“Obviously none of this was in response to the pandemic but I already was planning to do exactly what am doing now prior to it. The only thing that was left to do was to put a sign on my delivery truck and then find someone to deliver my wine too.”
McNeil, 47, had been marketing and selling wine for 20 years when he decided to go in a different direction. In 2015 he started making pinot noir in his ancestral home of Nicasio (his family has lived there since 1851) using nearby Stubbs Vineyard pinot noir under the Ellen Redding label (Redding was his grandmother, who was married in the Nicasio church in 1928).
McNeil’s company will soon be producing more different wines from Marin County than any other producer, taking over that mantel from nearby McEvoy Ranch.
“The Ellen Redding label is only for my Marin County wines,” he says. His company currently has a chardonnay and pinot noir both sourced from Stubbs Vineyard in West Marin, and a Paydirt blend that incorporates 2% cabernet sauvignon from Pacheco Ranch in Novato. The plan is to add a 100% cab from Pacheco and a cab/montepulciano/pinot noir blend using grapes from Pacheco Ranch, McEvoy Ranch and Stubbs, respectively.
“It’s kind of my joke that I’m just the delivery guy,” he says. “But when people realize that, wait a second, these are your wines, this is your story, you make these wines, you deliver these wines, you market these wines, this whole thing is proprietary. So, in fact you are not just the delivery guy.”
He says “Just hang in there with me, it’s a story that took a long time to unfold, but it is so far ahead of the storyline that hasn’t happened yet, that you can’t possibly understand what I’ve been doing within the context of even three years ago, but today it seems to make perfect sense.”
Wines That Deliver is actually a winery doing business as both Ellen Redding and as Brainchild (which produces several other varietals from non-Marin fruit).
“I’ve been marching towards this horizon one way or the other, not knowing how it would totally drop into a very specific and current context like we have today. But here we are.”
Wines That Deliver will deliver their wines anywhere in Marin County. And if you catch McNeil on a good day, maybe even outside. They will ship too.
“People don’t think of Marin County as a wine producing region,” he says. “And then they try these wines and say to themselves: Why don’t I think of Marin County as a wine producing region?”
He points out that the Burgundian varietal vineyards in West Marin are surrounded by bodies of water and have higher rainfall and higher winter temperatures along with lower summer and fall temperatures. Resulting in a long even growing season that allows for equal ripening which produces higher concentrations of flavor at lower alcohol levels.
“That is one of the key things about Marin County wines,” he says.
The cabernet sauvignon from East Marin is a different story entirely.
“When I first met Herb Roland [Pacheco Ranch], he and I just spoke the same language from day one,” says McNeil. “We started talking history and I was hooked on the idea of the vineyard even before I tasted any of the fruit. He is the only person that I have ever spoken with that predates our family history in Marin County which started in 1851. I mean 1840? Really?!”
Wines That Deliver will deliver any of the seven wines in their portfolio, but the Marin County ones are truly not to be missed. More info and ordering here: www.winesthatdeliver.com
2018 Ellen Redding Pinot Noir, Stubbs Vineyard 13.9% ABV, $42
Concentrated blackberry with a lightening yet not bracing acidity along with relatively low alcohol certainly makes this one of the sexiest Marin County pinots ever.
2018 Ellen Redding Chardonnay, Stubbs Vineyard, 13.9% ABV, $36
Crisp yet not tart, this well balanced excellent food pairing chardonnay leans slightly more Montrachet than it does Chablis. Definitely not a California butterball and it won’t club you over the head with alcohol either. Good on it’s own or with a small group of people you live with.
2018 Paydirt California Red Blend, (81% Zinfandel, 8% Grenache, 4% Petite Sirah, 3% Syrah, 2% Mourvèdre, 2% Barbera, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon), 15.2% ABV, $25
Dark, rich, and inviting this mouthful of blackberry fruit, earth and medium tannins is reminiscent of old style Italian field blends while still retaining its youthful California muscularity.And at that price point you can do anything you want with it: burgers, pizza or even filet mignon.