Assume the lack of online information is because it’s an exclusive bottling for TWS, just still under the Prophet’s Rock label. I was assuming only TWS members would have tried it, though also no idea how many vintages there have been (there was a 2021, don’t know if it goes further back than that).
If I had to guess, I presume the main difference will be the source of the fruit, but hopefully those of you who’ve been more proactive than I in seeking further info, will get a response.
I have 6 of the 2021, which I think was the first vintage of this, however they say drink from 2024 so haven’t touched them yet. I like the home vineyard release but not sure I want 12 bottles of something I haven’t tried over just buying the regular release as desired.
I think the VFM aspect would certainly be a factor. I used to buy Ridge Zinfandels but stopped when prices starting pushing north of £40. I think they need more time than the starting year of the drinking window given and they certainly improve with more age. I would wait at least five years before opening and prefer them after eight.
There is always a danger in hyping up a wine before opening a bottle - it can present a lot for the wine to live up to.
I would love that Ridge Zinfadel, but am currently in the dog house for having been caught purchasing Leoville-Barton EP earlier this week by my Wife. I tried to explain that we would both benefit from this decision, but it didn’t go well!
So it’s a painful pass from me this time. Oh well!
As a general comment - not aimed at any specific wine, but at the ‘first release’ market and indeed any ‘buying off plan’ scheme.
Back in 1988 (I was a first-time-home-buyer) property prices were moving upwards exponentially - literally every week a modest flat would increase in price by £5k+ . Sellers asked stupid prices and were successful !
I can’t hep thinking that wine prices in 2023 are in a similar position.
Of course property prices crashed. My question is… are wine prices over inflated?
i think the answer is ‘yes’ - I think the crescendo is fast approaching - but with caveats . Interestingly, some wines I own, but store in bond, are now falling in price after a steep, exponential, rapid series of price rises.
I think (I don’t know for certain, but I feel it in my waters) that supply constriction is being used to maintain prices and FOMO at the higher end (wouldn’t be anything new, the Bordelaise for example have been at it for decades now). I suspect this, because lets be honest, alcohol sales and alcohol consumption are slowing in the western world. I can’t help but feel that the smarter merchants/speculators understand this intrinsically, and are acting accordingly.
(Not withstanding, inflation is at it’s highest for decades I believe, and the pound is weak. It’s unsurprising prices keep rising, this is what happens in an unstable economic environment).
This is a copy of a post I made in the Musar thread regarding the recent first release of Musar, so Callum’s comment is specifically regarding that. But I thought it was probably more relevant to the general First Release discussion:
Me too but, sadly, I think it unlikely. I’m guessing this is a much faster easier way of selling for TWS requiring much less stock holding and much quicker turn around of stock.
I’m particularly concerned by this comment from Callum - " At the moment, we cannot confirm if we will be securing further stocks or the manner they will be offered (be it regular stock or a further in-bond offer)" - which rather goes against the earlier assurances we were given that the wines would always be later made available on the normal list so those not wanting to buy in these quantities could still buy them. I was pretty cynical about that assurance then and am even more so now after reading this comment.
More than ever I’m convinced that this method of selling simply means TWS get to sell wines in quantities decided by them not by the buyer. And this seems to me to be fundamentally wrong. I’m also convinced that it is/will be successful as it naturally fuels FOMO and encourages people to purchase more of a wine than they really need or want.
I have been tempted to buy when they have offered wines in smaller lots such as threes, although I normally only buy a maximum two of any one wine, given the choice. However I am disinclined to buy any First Release wines on the basis that I do not want to support this, to my mind, very anti-mutual way of selling.
Am also someone who rarely buys wine in more than 2/3 bottles per vintage (EP aside), so I have some sympathy, albeit as a more recent member I don’t have as much historic experience to reference.
I haven’t really been able to guess what criteria are being applied to determine the minimum order with First Release.
The Thymiopolous Vrana Petra was “case of 1”, which obviously made it easy to request what you want. Perhaps quantities were limited, I got the two bottles requested.
Others recently have been a mix of threes (eg Long Meadow Napa Cab, Volpaia Chianti) or sixes (eg Bohorquez RdD and Musar). I passed on the RdD as I didn’t want to commit to 6 bottles in a tricky vintage, was prepared to take the risk later. I like the occasional Musar, but would never consider buying 6 of the same year.
If the idea is to try and guarantee higher volume sales with 6 bottle minimum, I could understand that in principle, but Musar seemed a strange choice in that it has a pretty loyal following and they should have known what they could sell, so threes could have been a viable option. Perhaps some distributor influence, who knows?
First Release is relatively new, also a possibility that TWS is still finding its feet with it, and obviously changes to the offering on wines it has been selling for years on the normal list will be more noticeable to members. Your point that some of these may never find their way into the regular list is very valid, I guess we wait and see.
“The climate here is generally cooler than in Geyserville and Lytton Springs. Fruit tends to set somewhat later and reach full maturity slowly, allowing us to produce wines that are both complete and complex.”
Seems to score about the same on vivino. Seems similar priced to Geyserville