Matt Merrill El Pomar Junction Winery owner
Jim shumate, Winemaker El Pomar Junction Winery

          The artisanal winemaker often cannot resist the challenge to experiment and seek out obscure grapes and, fortunately, their wine club members often serve as built in beta testers for the small lot experiments. Jim Shumate, winemaker at Pomar Junction Vineyard in Templeton California, says he loves the artistry of crafting small lots that challenge his winemaking skills. “It’s a lot of fun but there’s zero room for error. It’s easy to mess up and there’s nowhere to hide it—with large production blends one can readily make a single barrel disappear in to a larger blend.” Pomar Junction’s best selling, signature small lot offering is Train Wreck. Shumate notes, “It’s different every season as we select our very favorite barrels, and in addition to an assortment of Bordeaux classics, you might also see Mouvedre and Petite Sirah in the blend. It all depends on what’s exceptional that year.”

Pomar Junction Winery, Templeton California

2009 Train Wreck—a full-bodied blend of 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petite Syrah and 25% Zinfandel—exhibits black currents and dark stone fruit with soft tannins.

Listen to Podcast interview with Winemaker, Jim Shumate–from NPR affiliates KCBX, KSBX, KNBX interview with Tom Wilmer: