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This wine is a collaboration between some serious wine heavyweights: Oregon wholesaler Don Heistuman, winemaker Steve Edmunds, and vineyard manager Ron Mansfield. They came together to make a juicy, elegant, easy-drinking wine whose referent was their favorite wines of the Loire and Beaujolais. Predominantly Cabernet Franc, with 4% Gamay thrown in, the grapes are sourced from the red granitic soils of the Barsotti Vineyard and the volcanic loam of the Camino Alto site. Spontaneous fermentation is half in open bin and half in tank, with manual punchdowns once or twice a day. Bright, light and fresh, with fantastic peppery Cabernet Franc varietal character roaring out of the glass. Cranberry, raspberry, and some nice strawberry fruit seethe within layers of fantastic minerality. Finely grained, grippy, granitic tannins make this wine tightly coiled, with bristling energy, but not too much weight. Drink by itself or with a wide range of stews, game birds, pork tenderloin, filet mignon, french onion soup, or tonkotsu ramen. Andrew Farquhar
55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
Broadside is a project of very talented winemaker Chris Brock. The Cabernet is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels, 10% of which are new. The resultant wine is remarkably fresh and full bodied with an interesting spicy character and plenty of bright, tangy dark fruit.
This wine is from the Green Valley of Solano County, located just over the Vaca mountains from Napa. This wine comes from two vineyards, the Frei Vineyard and the Wirth Ranch Vineyard, both of which are dry-farmed and have average vine ages over 65 years. This style of wine was formerly known as Napa Gamay, and for good reason; the taste is reminiscent of Beaujolais with medium tannin and great energy, though more purple in color and with darker fruit. Vineyards are dry-farmed and have an average vine age of sixty years. Partial carbonic maceration gives the wine a light and lifted character. Pair with pork chops, veal, branzino, or carnitas tacos. Andrew Farquhar
From the folks who run Hobo Wine Co., here we have the delicious new vintage of one of our favorite inexpensive Cabernets from California! Tart blackberry and ripe cassis mix with herbal hints and wildflower on the nose while broadly gracing the firm, rich, powerfully tannic palate. Sourced from many lesser known but sustainably or organically farmed vineyards throughout Sonoma county. Aged for nine months in neutral oak barrels.
Notes from Claire Hill: "Eric has a few rows of Brézème Syrah (3 rows of Roussanne and I think like 13 rows of Syrah?). It's not the Ardèche clone you find directly across the river in Saint-Julien-en-Saint-Alban, but the wing structure of the the cluster makes it look like it's a Côte-Rôtie clone. I assume you know the story, limestone and all that jazz, but Brézème is considered this lost appellation of France. It was very well known in the 1400s-1800s, but then it fell off the map between Spanish flu/WWI/WW2, and by the 1960s there was only about 1 hectare [approx. 2.5 acres] left. The guy who owned that hectare is now in his 90s and named M. Pouchoulin. He's out of the grape game, and putters in his little vegetable garden. He sold part of the old vines to Eric and the rest to Domaine Lombard. I picked on the same day as Eric did, and did more pigeage/pumpovers on mine with an eye towards making a very age-worthy wine. It's very primary right now, but I think it will be phenomenal in 3-4 years."
Notes from Claire: "...from Del Barba vineyard in Oakley, California, on the Sacramento River Delta. The area was planted to mostly Zinfandel, Carignane, and Mourvedre in the 1880s-1890s by Italian and Portuguese immigrants to the area. A lot of the old vines have been ripped out for urban sprawl, and a lot of families have sold their vineyards for millions of dollars to developers. The Del Barba family has lived there for 5 generations now, and continue to farm the property. The Zinfandel from Martha Stoumen's Post Flirtation Red comes from this vineyard, and Bedrock gets the 130 year old Mourvedre (I get the 60 year old Mourvedre). It's all own rooted and head trained in pure sand...about 15% whole cluster with some pigeage, fermented in picking pins for 7 days. The fermentation was insanely healthy, and it kicked off on its own within 18 hours. I added a little sulfur to one of the 3 bins that had a funky smelling cap, but most sulfur additions were post malo/before bottling (total is <30ppm). Aged in 10 year old Littorai barrels for 14 months before bottling."
By now Beaujolais is no longer the sommelier's best kept secret, but what you might not have known yet is that gamay also does really well in Oregon! "Les Petits Fers" is 100% gamay sourced from a selection of vineyards in Umpqua and Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. The cool coastal winds keep these grapes fresh and bright, and the volcanic clay soils adds depth to this wine. Each vineyard's fruit is fermented separately with most going through full or partial carbonic maceration and then aged partly in cement, puncheons, and stainless steel to create balance. The nose is blend of fresh and dried raspberry, rooibos tea, and violets, and the palate shows some savory notes of dried herbs, and red apple skins. This wine is great with a bit of a chill to enjoy on its own, or try it with lighter proteins and a fruit-based sauce. MD
50% Cabernet Sauvignong and 50% Merlot, this Bordeaux Blend tastes like anything but. From old vines planted on a thin loam over broken shale, this wine is brimming in electric acidity, with the stone fruit character on the nose becoming a pleasant surprise of tangerine and blood orange on the palate. It is rare to have a red wine with citric fruit character, but this is one. This wine is almost Italianate in style, and would pair excellently with red pasta sauces, but also has the oomph to stand up to lamb or a more delicate cut of beef. The Elizabeth Vineyard, sustainably farmed, is located on the east side of Seneca Lake. Andrew Farquhar
This refreshing and bright Pinot Noir from star California winemaker Kenny Likitprakong is sourced predominantly from the Arroyo Seco AVA, in other words, Steinbeck country. Native yeast fermentation and spontaneous malo are followed by nine months on the lees with occasional batonnage in used French oak barrels. Bright red fruit and elegant texture make for a fine, refreshing wine that lingers pleasantly on the palate. Andrew Farquhar
Natural fermentation from a new Gamay experiment winemaker Kenny Likitprakong is overseeing in the Arroyo Seco AVA, this is a beautiful, elegant, decidedly fresh red-fruited rosé. A very short maceration makes this light in tannin and color. Bottled in green glass, which is made from much higher levels of recycled product and has a considerably smaller carbon footprint. Andrew Farquhar
This Cabernet is sourced from a single block of the Bates Ranch Vineyard located above 1000 feet on the eastern flank of Mt. Madonna at the very southern extremity of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Farmed exclusively by winemaker Kenny Likitprakong, this dry-farmed block was planted in 1973 by local wine legends Val and Dexter Ahlgren. As with much of the Cabernet from this region, the emphasis is on structural tension. Not quite as histrionically robust or extracted as Cabernet from other parts of California, this wine has some muted cassis scarved in layers of dusty tannin and spice. This is a style of Cabernet that would have been much easier to find in these hills back in the 1970s. 207 cases produced, with shorter extraction time, 10% whole cluster fermentation, and 25% new oak. Andrew Farquhar
This cuvée is meant to be an overview of what the Santa Cruz Mountains have to offer, and is sourced from three different vineyards: 40% Upper Block Amaya Ridge, 35% Aptos Creek, and 25% Smith Road. While the blend varies a little vintage to vintage, the wine shows consistency in its expression of classic Santa Cruz restraint. Fine cranberry fruit with a hint of some baking and savory spices, this Pinot is finely structured, with delicate tannins and a fine acid backbone. Open and inviting now, this wine will also benefit from a few years of cellaring. Excellent with roast chicken, lobster rolls, or miso-broth ramen, this will work just as well without food, as it is aromatic and mesmerizing as a standalone experience. 600 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
Sean sources this fantastic, bright, easy-drinking Pinot Noir from vineyards throughout the Central Coast. Destemmed, with three days of cold soak in stainless steel before fermentation begins. Bright red fruit and soft tannins mix with fine acidity and a little vanilla from some oak to make a bright and juicy, lifted vinous experience! Drink with a slight chill. Andrew Farquhar
80% old vine Carignan from the Trimble vineyard in Mendocino and 20% Zinfandel from Porter Creek's own vineyards, this dry rose is one of my favorites of the summer. Crackling with acidity, bright fruit and a lovely seam of minerality on the nose, this wine is complex and hefty enough to pair with grilled meats and barbecue, while also having the snappy mouthwatering agility to be drunk as an aperitif. Winemaker Alex Porter always creates balanced wines, and this is no exception. All the fruit is dry-farmed, whole cluster pressed, and aged in neutral oak before bottling. Andrew Farquhar
The Horseshoe vineyard was planted in 2004 at an elevation ranging from 1,360 to 1,610 feet above sea level, with the blocks of Pinot Noir occupying the highest portions of the vineyard. There is a ridge that separates this vineyard from the coldest of the sea fog, though it is still affected by cooling maritime influence. The vineyard lies on the Monterey formation, a ridge of brittle, rust-mottled sedimentary shale (intermixed with limestone) that provides swift drainage and allows for low vigor. Interestingly, the warmest month at Horseshoe is September, mitigating the difficulties of the previous cool summer months with a final solar sear at the end of the season. This beautiful wine exhibits over the course of its multipartite structure the whole range of red fruit character: enticing handfuls of fresh black cherries on the nose become tenser, more austere cranberry on the palate before transforming into a beguiling strawberry character on the stately finish. Interspersed through these variations are other mineral and herbal notes: freshly felled white pine, bitter chocolate, dry pine straw, and a hint of sage ash. The tightly wound structure will take a few years to spin out and resolve itself into focus. This wine will take a few years of cellar training before attaining the mastery for which it was made. Drink 2020-2035. Andrew Farquhar
At 2,360 feet above sea level, the Skyline vineyard is one of the highest altitude sites for Pinot Noir in California. Cold nights are balanced by the purity of the sunlight this high above the fog line. The rocky, extremely thin soils here are fractured mudstone, sandstone, and limestone.This is the most monumentally structured of the Rhys wines, its chiseled architecture needing a number of years of mellowing to approach the great heights that a well-aged Skyline Pinot can attain. The electricity quivers like atomic nuclei across all aspects of this wine, and the nascent savory spice character will begin to bloom with cellarage, though this wine is quite forceful and impressive upon first contact. With 5+ years of aging these wines turn into some of the most distinctive, terroir-expressive wines produced in the Western Hemisphere, and with correct cellaring can last for up to two decades. Andrew Farquhar
This is a perfect California wine for our store, as it is an homage to Julien Guillot's Burgundian field blend, Cuvee 910, which we have proudly carried for years. This wine is a co-ferment made from 2 tons of Pinot Noir and 1 ton of Chardonnay, both sourced from the extraordinary Coastview Vineyard perched high in the Gabilan Mountains, which separate the Monterey AVA from the Central Valley. Field blends like this were very common in the Middle Ages, when all available grapes were brought to the winery and crushed and fermented together, but the practice has become rare today. This wine makes that rarity seem strange. This is Pinot in the form of a lightning bolt, with the beautiful red fruit and elegance of Pinot Noir but an intensity and zippiness usually associated with white wine. These two varieties are co-fermented together on the skins for 55 days. This wine has loads of character, but still remains chimeric, with many different aspects that change and interact in the glass. As with all the Subject to Change wines, this is bottled unfined and unfiltered, and no sulfur is added anywhere in the winemaking process. This is a truly special wine from an incredible place made with tact and intelligence. 12.5% alcohol, and only 210 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar