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History and Rating Point/Score

Menu Item Types: Thompkin


Thompkin Cellars is a small, family-run winery located in Costa Mesa, California. Working closely with several high quality vineyards in Santa Barbara County, we aim to produce small-lots of handcrafted, affordable wines that express the best of what California has to offer.

2001 marked the commercial debut for the winery. The first three vintages focused on producing “Couchant”, our Cabernet Franc-based proprietary blend. 2003 saw our first expansion, with the introduction of a Syrah and in 2004 our first Grenache was produced. The 2005 vintage helped round out our line-up with our Rhone blend “3ie Degré”. Starting in 2012, we are excited to introduce our first vintage of Ténébreux, a Petite Sirah from the Thompson Vineyard. Up to 6 different wines are made in any given vintage and total production now approaches 1000 cases annually.

We hope that you enjoy our wines.

“My friends are my estate”Jeff Dobkin/Julie Thompson-Dobkin(Owner/Winemakers)

Wine Advocate Issue 177

June 30, 2008

“These are all hedonistic, effusively fruity wines with lots of personality and flavor”.
2006 3ie Degre (50% Syrah, 40% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache) – “a Cotes du Rhone-like style of Santa Barbara red with a deep ruby color, a sweet nose of black raspberries, cherries, a hint of underbrush, and lots of spice and pepper…full-bodied, silky textured, and delicious for drinking over the next several years.” (90 points)

2005 Couchant (100% Cabernet Franc) – “…much beefier, richer and more obviously oaked…it shows more earth, roasted herbs, and black currant fruit with hints of new saddle leather and spice. Medium to full-bodied, a bit bigger than the 3ie Degre…” (89 points)

2006 Grenache – “medium ruby color…and a classic nose of kirsch liqueur, licorice, and spice.”
2006 Mourvedre – “…dark ruby color and an earthy nose with hints of porcini mushrooms mixed with blue and red fruits.”

Wine Advocate Issue 172

December 17, 2007

3ie Degre – (a blend of 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache and 25% Mourvedre) possesses a dark ruby color as well as an attractive perfume of roasted provencal herbs, and sweet strawberries, cherries and currants. Medium-bodied, soft and silky, this hedonistic red should be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years(90 points)
2004 Couchant – a blend of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15 % Syrah…a deeper ruby/purple hue as well as blackberry, cassis, cedar and spice aromas. Should evolve for 5-7 years.

Is there a doctor in the winery?

Los Angeles Times
December 22, 2004

Thompkin Cellars grows its grapes in Santa Barbara County and does the crushing and destemming there. “It would be too noisy to do here,” explains the woman now known as Julie Thompson-Dobkin (the two were married in 1989). Until the 2003 vintage, the couple made their wine in Santa Barbara. They then decided to start trucking everything down to Costa Mesa, still in the big fermenters (“crushed grapes, juice, stems, bugs and all,” she says), and actually make their wine there.

The Thompkin Cellars wine is called “Couchant” — soleil couchant is French for “setting sun” — and it’s a big, powerful wine that smells of chocolate and blackberries and tastes of cherries, pepper and green olives. “We have a lot of local folks who decide to start small family wineries and then want us to sell their wine,” says Dan Rhodes of Hi- Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, which is just three miles from the Thompkin winery. “But this wine is something special. It’s a lot different, quite frankly, from what I thought it would be. I was expecting something very California-ish, an overripe jam ball. But this wine really has a European flair to it. I was amazed by the balance and elegance and structure. It goes really well with food.”