I see the one who dreamed it all as they rise beneath the stars.
– Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch
On the heels of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and Little Secrets comes The Benefits of Solitude, a 2019 red wine that pays homage to the writer, artist and visionary Henry Miller, and the place that's inspired generations of bohemians, starry-eyed travelers, poets and dreamers alike: Big Sur, California. Whether it's the salty sea-spray inhaled as you stand upon a great bluff along Hwy 1, the crashing sapphire waves against the steep craggy cliffs or the immense wilderness abound with massive redwood trees, Big Sur is a thing of beauty. Often referred to as the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the US, it is easy to find a sense of oneness here. In a world where we're constantly pulled in a million directions, the chatter never seems to stop. Driving south on Hwy 1 out of Monterrey, a sense of rejuvenation passes over you and suddenly, all is right with the world. Our label features a van parked cliff-side along Hwy 1, pointed towards the ocean at sunset, taking in nature's magnificence.
The Benefits of Solitude Red Wine is comprised of 53% Cinsault, 38% Pinot Noir, 7% Grenache, and 2% Mourvèdre sourced from some of our favorite vineyards in northern California. Harvested in late September and early October, our winemaking team was stoked for the cooler season that allowed for longer hang time and development of complexity at lower alcohols. To allow for gentle extraction and smooth as hell tannin structure, we fermented the Pinot Noir partial whole cluster, lightly pressed the Cinsault and foot stomped the Mourvèdre and Grenache in true Tank fashion. Aged in neutral oak for two years and bottled in mid-December, this is a wine you'll want in your line-up year-round.
Pale Garnet in color, the wine reminds us of the brick-red glow of a blood moon during a lunar eclipse. It makes sense that Big Sur is featured on the label, as wafts of forest floor, cedar and dried florals float from the glass. There is a hint of cinnamon, enveloped in ripe macerating strawberries that lure you into the glass for each sip. On the palate, it's all about dried cranberries, currants, orange peel and a sprinkle of Szechuan peppercorn. This wine is light and juicy in the best ways, with a beautiful tartness and clean finish. Low in tannins, we think this wine would be a great pairing to ramen bowls, mushroom toasts or white pizza.
To be alone, if only for a few minutes, and to realize it with all one’s being, is a blessing we seldom think to implore. The man of the big city dreams of life in the country as a refuge from all that plagues him and renders life intolerable. What he fails to realize, however, is that he can be more alone, if he chooses, in the midst of ten million souls than in a tiny community. To experience the feeling of aloneness is a spiritual achievement. The man who runs away from the city in search of this experience may find to his chagrin, particularly if he has brought with him all the cravings which city life fosters, that he has succeeded only in becoming lonely. ‘Solitude is for wild beasts or the gods,’ said someone. And there is truth in it.
Only when we are truly alone does the fullness and richness of life reveal itself to us. In simplifying our lives, everything acquires a significance hitherto unknown. When we are one with ourselves the most insignificant blade of grass assumes its proper place in the universe. Or a piece of manure, for that matter. Properly attuned, it’s all one come Christmas, as we say. One thing becomes just as important as another, one person as good as another. Lowest and highest become interchangeable. The own precious self gets swallowed up in the ocean of being. It is then that the carrion bird no longer seems hideous, nor merely to be tolerated because of its scavenger propensities. Nor do the stones in the field then seem inanimate, or to be regarded with an eye toward future walls and buttresses. Even if it last for only a few moments, the privilege of looking at the world as a spectacle of unending life and not as a repository of persons, creatures and objects to be impressed into our service, is something never to be forgotten.