The concept behind the Locations brands is one of creative thought. Dave Phinney, co-owner and winemaker, started Locations with the vision to create wines that represent not just a particular wine region of a country, but a whole country in and of itself. Dave has traveled to wineries worldwide meeting with some of the finest winemakers to source their best fruit to ultimately product a wine representative of that country. There are so many rules and restrictions when it comes to winemaking in particular winemaking areas and regions that Dave’s goal is to have the creativity and freedom without being held by these rules and regulations. Their targets are low yields and old vines from some of the highest quality vineyards with forward thinking growers. Dave’s motto is based on “simple, complex and fun”.
Dave’s journey began as he was visiting France in 2008 due to the intrigue of a friend’s discovery of a vineyard in Maury located in southern France. This area borders Spain and was an area that hadn’t really been discovered yet. Dave ended up purchasing this vineyard of 300 acres of vines and began producing single vineyard wines. It made me laugh the beauracrcy we face in the United States as Dave mentioned that he was able to get permits and build a winery in France in 6 months where in Napa it would take 6 years. As he ventured all around France the concept of blending grapes from other winemaking parts of the country peaked his interest. Of course this isn’t allowed by the AOC laws and if a wine was to be created this way it would need to be without a vintage date and only be listed as a table wine. Two years later as Dave was saying goodbye to his friend at the airport and they were discussing more of these frustrations a license plate showing the later F forced a lightbulb to go off in Dave’s head and what if they made wine in many other countries than France with the same blending ideas. Locations was created!
Dave stated that 95% of the winemaking takes place in the vineyards. It's all about finding great vineyards, getting the right crop and picking at optimal times. Every vintage the blends are similar and sourced from similar areas without changing it up too much and going outside the lines. The wines are vinified and bottled in their country of origin. Locations now produces wines in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Corsica and the United States (CA, WA, OR and TX). They're about to release a vermentino from Corsica and a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand as well as rose' from France. Dave wouldn't be surprised as well if a sparkling wine is in their future also. Location's first vintage in 2011 totaled around 15k cases. The different vintages are labeled by numbers with the first vintage labeled as 1 and so on and so forth.
The most touching part of the virtual meeting with Dave was when one of the bloggers asked Dave of his proudest moment. Getting choked up and taking a minute or two to gather himself, Dave simply explained it was during the time of when he had nothing but a plain business card with his name on it and how he wouldn't put winemaker on it unless someone hired him. Starting off as a young, struggling winemaker and fighting to get where he is today still gets to him. For me it was beautiful to see humble pride one feels from their own accomplishments.
Locations Italian red wine
Of course I was intrigued by the Italian red wine that Locations produced because how can one choose from the large amounts of indigenous grapes grown all throughout Italy and make a wine representative of a whole country. Dave studied abroad in Florence, like myself, and when he started Locations he traveled to Italy for 2 years without finding a profile for the wines there.
Locations Italian red is based primarily on nero d’avola and negroamaro grapes from Puglia, specifically Torricella and Manduria, as well as some Barbara from Alba in the Piedmont region. There is also a bit of nero d'avola, dolcetto and sangiovese. It’s aged in barrel 10 months before release. The wine incorporated everything including juicy, ripe blackberries paired with good structure acidity and solid tannins. According to Dave some wines cellar better than others obviously, but Italy is the most serious of all the wines for him. It has the most structure.
With these wines having a SRP of $18.99 it’s amazing the efforts put forth behind the scenes to produce wines of this caliber with such affordability. Dave's completed our virtual tasting sharing that he gets to taste amazing wines, visit amazing vineyards and people from all over and it never gets old. It's these experiences that get him out of bed every day to share with you these wines from “locations” all around the world.
*all wines were received as samples, but opinions are my own. Pictures were sourced from Balzac Communications and Locations Wine.