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Always fascinated with stars, galaxies, quasars… all things beyond me that have not let go my imagining. I dreamed of working for NASA, but that fantasy was dashed quickly… my math skills standing obstinately in my way. The infatuation with outer space went further than reading my father’s old copies of the John Carter of Mars series and can even be seen in some of my recent album purchases, which share an affinity for space. So I found it apt then that I had purchased a bottle of the highly touted Pleiades XXI to experiment with last week.

I had heard a lot of people that I respect in the wine industry sharing positive opinions about a winemaker that I found quite mysterious—Sean Thackrey. Their opinion was that his wines were always well made and worthy of a try. With great anticipation I picked up a bottle to try to uncover a little bit more about the producer and his wine.

I made it the centerpiece of the evening, cracking it with a few friends after dinner (and without food). Pleiades was unique, a blend of Viognier, Marsanne, Syrah, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, and Mouvèdre with many more unlisted varietals, that blended and co-fermented white and red grapes. Out of respect, I decided it was best to just taste it on its own. We collectively brought our stemware to our noses to smell the brilliant ruby colored wine. A brief perfume of Vicks Vapor rub blew off, exposing a more attractive scent of cherry starburst, eucalyptus, and earth that leaped from the glass. The wine’s body was deceptively sleek despite it boasting about 14.9% alcohol; the mishmash of grapes was graceful yet confusing for my taste buds. Pleiades kept me guessing all night as it constantly evolved and I really liked that quality… keeping me off-balance. I was never quite sure what I would taste with each glass.

With most wines focusing on concentration and skipping closer to homogenized flavors this wine was an exciting outlier—a distant star young in its cycle. It lived up to its praise and was able to keep me enthralled to the last glass. I have Twitter now to follow NASA, and Sean Thackrey to follow the stars.

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