Turkey Talk: A Run-In with Pavo Wines

Vinted on September 17, 2009 binned in California wine, wine review

I know what you’re thinking:

Man, I really hope that today’s 1WineDude post somehow combines the Acura Integra, InfoTech department payroll practices, farm animals, Lord of the Rings, marijuana, and estate-grown California Syrah!

What can I say? Who loves ya, baby?!?

On second thought, I might have painted myself into a serious blogging corner here… let’s just push on and see how all of this pans out, shall we?

You see, Pavo Wines Syrah is not my first run-in with a wild turkey (though this wine is no “turkey” – more on that in a minute or two; or three).  No, not that Wild Turkey, either.  No, what I’m talking about are the large and sometimes colorful birds that tend to roam on farmland across much of North America.

A little over 10 years ago, I was speeding through the backroads of southeastern PA on my way to work, just after dawn on a gorgeous morning, zipping through twisting, winding roads that bisected local farms.  When I say “speeding” I mean speeding.  As in, the kind of speeding that not only breaks local traffic laws, it borders on violating county moral and ethical standards as well.  I was flirting with being late for work, and at that time my InfoTech day job had a punch-card policy – we ‘clocked-in’ for work just like anyone else on the site (which consisted mostly of factory floor workers). This policy managed to promote a few interesting behaviors, like creating a feeling of equity among the entire site staff, and also allowed the company to offer a ‘punctuality bonus’ if you showed up on time (which is a nice way of saying that if you are late, you’ll be docked a percentage of that day’s pay).  In my case, it helped create unsafe roadways, since I was hell-bent that day on not missing out on some pay, if you catch my drift.

Hugging the road, I had but one stretch of farmland to cross before I’d be out of the woods (literally and figuratively).  I took the final turn (blind, of course, as most of these turns are in PA) on the bisecting lane at ridiculous speed, steering for the apex and finding directly in front of me, just as I cleared the corner, two very large and very unsuspecting wild turkeys, making their leisurely way across the road.  They couldn’t have been more directly in front of my oncoming road hazard.

SCREEEEEECH went the brakes.  The car stopped so suddenly, and jerked forward so roughly, that I wasn’t sure if I’d hit anything or not.  I peeked over the steering wheel.  Nothing.  A pregnant moment passed that couldn’t have been more than a few seconds but felt like a lifetime.  A head appeared above the windshield.  A turkey head.  It was bobbing, clearly perturbed, offering up a “Beeatch – I’m gonna f—k you UP!” look, but it was a head that was otherwise unharmed.  I leaned forward and saw its mate follow suit, but she appeared less agitated at the whole affair.  They couldn’t have been more than 16 inches in front of my car.

To recap: that’s the Acura, IT payroll, and farm animals. Now, it’s time to talk about the wine (yeah, yeah, and Lord of the Rings – I didn’t forget); a wine that takes its logo from a wild turkey, and like a turkey is tasty, colorful, and dense (just not that meaning of dense)…

Pavo’s 2007 Estate Grown Syrah is the inaugural effort from Jordan Kivelstadt’s family vineyard.  Jordan is a young winemaker who, after working in marketing consulting, traveled to Australia and Argentina (working with O. Fournier, interestingly enough, who we already know makes a totally kick-ass Malbec) before launching Pavo.  Phil’s also on the advisory board for Wine 2.0 (but so is Alder Yarrow so obviously they’re not that discriminating… sorry Alder… just seeing if you were paying attention, my man!).  Pavo’s Syrah fruit comes from a small (10 acre) organically-farmed vineyard under the direction of Phil Coturri (who also  manages vineyard land for Landmark and Benzinger, among others), on mostly volcanic soils.

First of all, you gotta decant this wine if you’re going to approach it anytime in the next couple of years.  You’re going to have to proceed with some caution.  When I poured the `07 Pavo into my decanter, it was like looking into the dead of night, this wine was so dark. It just struck me that it was a beast.  After a quick sniff of the decanter, I was thinking that this wine was like the Balrog from Lord of the Rings, only instead of being made of lava and fire it’s made of black fruit around a core of dark red cherry.  Then, after a few hours, this wine started changing, and I had to amend the description so the Balrog had horns of red berries, only some gamey stuff started coming out, so now the Balrog was riding maybe a wild boar or something.  Oh, yeah, and his whip was white pepper.  anyway, the whole thing got totally out of control, obviously, and I don’t even smoke weed so there’s no telling what the hell compelled me to make that comparison.

Anyway… don’t smoke weed, okay, kids?

Unlike the Balrog, this wine is young, and it’s a first commercial attempt, which kind of wowed me because it’s a damn good wine for a young guy to be producing mostly on his own as an inaugural release.  If I have a minor cavil (and I do), it’s that the finish isn’t quite there yet, it’s just a tad too boozy for my taste, but that didn’t stop me from polishing off most of the Pavo sample bottle that I received, because the wine is pretty damn tasty.

I met Jordan earlier this year in Sonoma during the Wine Bloggers Conference, during one of the winery-sponsored diners.  We didn’t talk about Pavo, but we did talk about wine (a subject he’s clearly passionate about), and life-in-general.  Jordan is a very nice and affable guy, about as far from a Balrog as you could get, really.  Fortunately, he can still make powerful, rich, and dare-I-say Balrog-worthy wine.

I’m pretty sure Jordan hoped for a write-up when he sent me the sample, but I’m willing to bet he wasn’t quite prepared for such a strange write-up.

Neither was I, actually…






  • Kevin

    Now that is what I call a wine review.

  • Karen G

    Awesome post, dude. I am pretty sure which wild turkey I would drink over the other any day. Cheers!

  • 1WineDude

    Thanks, folks – I think I even scared myself with this one…

  • Randy Watson

    I enjoyed this! Thank you for the wild ride!


    • 1WineDude

      Thanks. BTW, no turkeys were harmed in the writing of this article.

    • 1WineDude

      Cheers. If you think that was wild, you should have been in the passenger seat when I almost hit those birds!

  • @HipsterEnology

    If you hadn't been able to stop so quickly, I'm sure you would've found that wild turkeys actually detonate on impact. Fairly obscure knowledge until you find your house within the limits of one of the feathered shock waves. It was so bad it made mall Santas envious.


    • 1WineDude

      Wow… I find that oddly fascinating (and disturbing) :-)

  • vinogirl

    Wow…what a great review, I laughed out loud!

    • 1WineDude

      Surely you don't think that near-death experiences for turkeys are funny, do you??? :-)

  • Dylan

    So YOU were the guy who cut me off.

    Drive safely, Joe.

    • 1winedude5036

      Probably. You weren't riding a turkey by any chance, were you?

    • 1WineDude

      You weren't riding a wild turkey by any chance, were you? :-)

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