VERY RARELY IN THE WINE BUSINESS DO YOU HEAR THE FOLLOWING WORDS,
"Our assistant winemaker is from Fairfield!"
Did I hear your correctly?
That is exactly what I said to myself upon hearing those words six years ago.
How does a Midwest boy grow into one of
the most talked about "up and coming" winemakers?
You are about to find out.
Connor McMahon's love of wine began at the family dinner table. Growing up here in Fairfield, Iowa, he was surrounded by friends and family that were quite the oenophiles. He tasted, listened, and was bit by the wine bug early on.
So what is a boy to do that is interested in making wine a career?
Back in the late 1990's- early 2000's, you moved!
Connor made California his home away from home after accepting an internship at Booker Vineyards in Paso Robles. He was most intrigued with the Rhone varietals, and knew the Paso Robles climate could support the kind of wines that he wanted to make. That position turned into a full-time apprenticeship,
and later the title of assistant winemaker.
This is when I first learned of Connor.
We were moving to Fairfield from Las Vegas, and I wanted to make sure they could ship my allocation to Iowa. It was a weird, serendipitous moment when I gave the office manager my new address and she laughed out loud!
"Connor is from Fairfield!"
Maybe I had found the right home.
Booker owner Eric Jensen was not only pivotal in Connor's early winemaking education, he also recommended Connor take a look at
the adjacent land for sale...known as Fulldraw.
Knowing the soil components favored the varietals he wanted to grow, it seemed inevitable the land would become his home. Fulldraw Winery was born in 2012,
and bottled their first wines in 2016.
Connor is blessed in not only land but family in California. His wife Rebecca studied viticulture and oenology at UC Davis, making Fulldraw a full family affair.
She also designs the labels and shares Connor's love of all things artistic.
I am so pleased to have met Connor in person a few weeks ago. I had always planned on carrying his wines, but also knew how few cases he produced. Most wineries are DTC, or direct to consumer, when first distributing. Honestly, I thought I had a few years to wait!
Luckily, we hit it off, even had a few friends in the wine business in common. Who knew? It really is a small world in the wine business.
SO HOW ARE THE WINES?
For those of you Rhone Rangers, you will not be disappointed.
The 100% Grenache, Hard Point, is a beautiful balance of tart, lean red fruits up front, and a lingering balanced finish. Nothing overstated. Nothing missing. Just pure finesse in the way I want a Grenache to drink. Not showy, or loose, but rather laser-focused and subtle.
The traditional GSM blend, Chopping Block, shows Connor's restraint as a winemaker. Again, this bottle displays the artistry in balance. Just enough Syrah for color and a bright punch of fruit. The Grenache adds structure and length, while the Mourvedre brings the gnarl and grit I want from a Rhone blend.
Both bottles are a pleasure.
As I stated above, there will be limited supplies of each wine. Please call ahead or stop by to reserve your bottles today. Congrats to Connor, Rebecca, and the entire Fulldraw crew.