Gnarled Old Vines in Bedrock Vineyard (July 2013)

Jon Bonné’s "The New California Wine" Book Signing! 2012 Releases From Bedrock & Arnot-Roberts!

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We are thrilled to host a special tasting this Saturday to celebrate the release of "The New California Wine," the eagerly anticipated new book from San Francisco Chronicle Wine Editor, Jon Bonné. We have been stashing some of our favorite and most limited bottles to crack for the occasion; please stop by between 4 and 7pm to taste with Jon (as well as special guest Matthew Rorick of Forlorn Hope), and pick up a copy of this valuable new resource, which chronicles the people, places, vines, and wines shaping California today. Among the trailblazing producers featured by Bonné are Bedrock Wine Company and Arnot-Roberts. We are pleased to offer the first of their 2012 releases today.

Bedrock Wine Company in Sonoma is synonymous with the search for old vines and the effort to preserve them in California, which has been a defining influence behind the heightened quality and profile of many of California's wines. Morgan Twain Peterson founded the winery in 2007 and named it after his family’s Bedrock Vineyard, a historical and viticultural gem of over 22 varieties that were inter-planted in the 1880s (first by future Civil War Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Joseph Hooker and again after the vineyard had passed to Senator George Hearst and phylloxera afflicted the vines).

Prior to Prohibition (well before the reign of single variety powerhouses) many California vineyards were like Bedrock — field blends of Zinfandel planted with myriad accessory grapes to encourage balance and ensure that no single variety dominate the character of the final blend. Bedrock's 2012 Heritage Blend seamlessly blurs the star power of Bedrock's old vines Zinfandel and ripe, forceful Carignane with the composite charisma of Trousseau, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Colombard, Mourvedre, Grand Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Muscadelle, and Castets, among others. This is a true testament to the virtues of the field blend and the wisdom of our winemaking elders.

Peterson and his partner Chris Cottrell are devoted hunters of old vines, obtaining fruit for their innovative cuvèes from many different plots in Sonoma and beyond. Today's offer includes the luminous Kirschenmann Zinfandel from a head-trained, dry-farmed Lodi vineyard planted in 1915; an extroverted Zinfandel from Russian River's Sodini Vineyard – another trove of head-trained, century-old vines, which Bedrock is leasing and revitalizing; and Compagni Portis from Sonoma, the stunning white counterpart to the old vine field blends touted above.

Our allocation of Arnot-Roberts' spectacular 2012 wines just arrived and is already moving fast. What Bedrock has done to elevate appreciation of old vines, Nathan Roberts and Duncan Arnot Meyers have done for the cool and liminal pockets of Northern California. Their wines are complex, chiseled, and vivid expressions of terroirs that were long believed to be unfit for winegrowing. Roberts and Meyers have disproved this suggestion for over a decade and continue to do so. Saturday's tasting will feature their Legan Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains. We hope to see you there! -AR

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Bedrock 2012 Sonoma Heritage Red Bedrock Vineyard

This vintage of Heritage Red calls out to lovers of broad, opulent, Californian blends as loudly as it calls for a few years in the cellar. Bedrock Vineyard's potent, perfumed Zinfandel and dense, chewy Carignane make up 80% of the blend, with the rest split between Trousseau, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Mourvedre, Grand Noir, Trousseau Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, Castets, Colombard, Muscadelle and more. Intense aromas of stewed strawberry, black cherry, lemon oil and sasparilla, with abundant flavors of boysenberries, bright cherries, orange peel, fennel seeds, and spice. A wine to savor with some age. -AR

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  • $52.99

Bedrock 2012 Lodi Zinfandel Kirschenmann Vineyard

Kirschenmann Vineyard's organic, dry-farmed, head-trained, own-rooted vines were planted in 1915 on the silica rich sandstone soils of the Mokelumne River AVA in Lodi (and recently purchased by Turley winemaker Tegan Passalacqua and his wife, Olivia). This is a stunning Zinfandel of clarity, complexity, and length, with aromas of silky red raspberry, blood orange, coriander, cherry blossom, and spicy cinnamon. The palate is fine, racy, and herbal, with briary black raspberry, purple flowers, tamarind, tea leaf, and subtle orange spice. Kirschenmann has verve and elegance reminiscent of well-tempered, high altitude Spanish Garnacha. A fascinating foil to Bedrock's Old Vines Zin or Heritage Red and a compelling pairing for sheeps milk cheese or simply grilled grass-fed meat. We look forward to many years of Kirschenmann to come! -AR

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  • $39.99

Bedrock 2012 Sonoma Valley Old Vines Zinfandel

2012 Old Vines consists of 40% Bedrock Vineyard Zinfandel with the rest coming from other old vine Sonoma sites (including the famed Monte Rosso and Casa Santinamaria). A full, fragrant nose of plump red and black berry flesh and berry seeds, crunchy black pepper, licorice, and earth. Soaring, savory, and spicy on the palate, with pretty cloven spice, rich orange oil, dark red plums, supple blackberry, and a broad earthy finish. Extremely tasty with Autumn braises, blue cheeses, and aged or smoked cheddars. Also voted most likely to occupy a decanter on the Thanksgiving table! -AR

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  • $34.99

Bedrock 2012 Russian River Zinfandel Sodini Vineyard

A delicious new addition to the Bedrock lineup from Sodini Vineyard, which is home to head-trained, dry-farmed Zinfandel planted in 1905 on the border of Sonoma's Russian River and Dry Creek Valley AVAs. Bedrock's founder, Morgan Twain Peterson, was contacted by the vineyard's owner, Steve Sodini, after two extremely difficult vintages (2010 — 2011). Peterson recounts: "He was at wits-end, tired of taking a loss on the vineyard, and was thinking that the only option might be to pull out the vines and replant to something higher yielding. It is not an uncommon tale as to how many old vines find their roots dismembered from the ground and their crowns unceremoniously dumped into a mass burn pile." Bedrock now leases and farms Sodini. A barrel sample of this inagural vintage (tasted in July 2013) showed big-boned blackberry fruit, amply supported by great acidity, lifted red berry notes, and plenty of warm, emergent spice. -AR

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  • $47.99

Bedrock 2012 Sonoma Heirloom White Compagni Portis

A fragrant white counterpart to the old-fashioned field blend formula that we admire in Bedrock's Heritage Red, Compagni Portis is a 60-year-old parcel of interplanted Gewürztraminer, Trousseau Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay (and more). The 2012 vintage was half de-stemmed and granted an extra long élevage, resulting in enhanced aromatics and structural integrity. Compagni Portis can be cellared or enjoyed young with roasted fowl, root vegetables or lobster. -AR

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  • $29.99

Arnot-Roberts 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Peter Martin Ray Pinot Noir

This whole cluster Pinot comes from one of Santa Cruz’s oldest vineyards still maintained according to old fashion methods and dry-farmed. A-R makes only a tiny bit of Pinot Noir whole cluster pressed and fermented with native yeasts.  We were very happy to be allocated a couple of bottles this year…

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  • $49.99

Arnot-Roberts 2012 North Coast Syrah

The anti-hedonistic Syrah returns.  Whole cluster fermented for a deep, savory structure.  Grapes come from Baker Lane near Sebastopol in Sonoma Coast AVA, Clary Ranch, Griffin's Lair and La Cruz vineyards in the Petaluma Gap area of the Sonoma Coast AVA, and Alder Springs Vineyard in northern Mendocino AVA.

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  • $34.99

Arnot-Roberts 2012 North Coast Trousseau

The Californian Trousseau scramble continues!  Arnot-Roberts sources theirs from three AVAs across Northern California.  Unfiltered and unfined for your maximum Trousseau enjoyment.

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  • $29.99

Arnot-Roberts 2012 Santa Cruz Mountains Trout Gulch Vineyard Chardonnay

Trout Gulch vineyard consists of Old Wente Chardonnay clones planted in sandy loams four miles from the Pacific Ocean.  Winemaking is the same non-interventionist style we expect from the pair with indigenous fermentation and a combination of steel tank fermentation and a racking into neutral barrels.

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  • $44.99

Arnot-Roberts 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay Watson Ranch

Although from Napa, home of the oaky Cabernet, this wine demonstrates many of our tenets of terroir transparent winemaking.  The clay and limestone vineyard is dry-farmed, and native yeasts ferment the wine in steel tank.  After a rest in neutral barrels, this tiny production wine is ready to bottle.  Maybe we should reconsider our image of Napa winemaking!

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  • $39.99