Our 2013 Wines
2013 The Bedrock Heritage
Planted 1888: Always the wine closest to my heart, the Bedrock Vineyard Heritage Wine comes my family’s old vineyard in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Planted between 1888 and 1895 and composed of over 22 interplanted varieties, the Bedrock Vineyard Heritage Wine is the wine that I started the winery to make. The piece of rock strewn red clay soils produced a wine of citrus-tinged red fruits and spice. I hope this wine speaks as much to the vineyard as to the varieties from which it is composed- which of course is the point. Composed of roughly 55% Zinfandel, 30% Carignane, with the balance being the many other varieties scattered throughout the vineyard.
2013 Oakville Farmhouse Heritage Wine
Planted 1930’s:, we think. This is a special one. Mark and Mollie Gamble’s vineyard is the oldest vineyard left in Oakville and one of the last remaining museum pieces from a nearly extinct time in Napa Valley’s history. Lying at the foot of Harlan and catty-corner from the southern edge of To Kalon Vineyard, this 2.5 acre piece occupies some expensive real estate. A fascinating field blend of Negrette, Zinfandel, Mondeuse, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Ruby Cabernet, and more this vineyard actually has the last known vines of old Mondeuse in Napa Valley. This is surprising as the original owner of To Kalon Vineyard, H.W. Crabb was so enamored with the variety upon planting it in the 1880’s that he called it Crabb’s Black Burgundy. The vine is incredibly unique, with aromatics of violets and anise and dark fruit supported by a deep spine of acid and tannin. This should age beautifully and could use extended decanting if opened young.
2013 Evangelho Heritage Wine
Contra Costa County
planted 1890’s. Planted in the 1890s. If the success of the 2011 was blind luck (show up with a truck in the wee hours of morning in a place I had never been based on the tip of a friend), and 2012 was the first effort of following an entire year’s worth of farming and coming to understand the unique conditions of Antioch and Oakley, then 2013 is a wine that reflects a better understanding of the site. Evangelho lies just inland from the Sacramento River Delta on banks of sand that can reach 40 feet in depth. Though a warm area there is rarely a day that passes without a serious wind—very much like a Californian Mistral and the antecedent to the fog coming through the Golden Gate—racing through the vineyard. This causes the vines to shut down for much of the hot afternoons, and the result is a wine that seemingly defies conventional wisdom when it comes warm weather sites. Evangelho is the earliest-picked vineyard by weeks in the winery, but it is tends to be the lowest in pH and alcohol of the Heritage Wines. This means that the crackling red fruit of Carignane, unctuousness of Zinfandel, and terrestrial perfume of Mourvedre is held aloft by an underlying brightness. Yet another unique terroir only found in this great State.
2013 Ode to Lulu Ancient Vine Rosé
In our quest to continually one-up the previous vintage of this wine we stumbled headlong into the rugged terrain of Mendocino. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the 2012, where I feel we finally captured a trace of ethereal lightness and perfume while maintaining the sturdy stock of Mourvedre at the wines base. However, I wonder if perhaps the 2012 was just a trace too delicate. We used more Carignane from the sandy, soft soils of Contra Costa County for that wine so my theory was that we needed to find soils with a bit more edge in them. Though the base of 2013 wine is composed around the ancient plantings of Mourvedre at Bedrock Vineyard and Pagani Ranch, the rest of the blend is composed of dry-farmed Grenache planted in the 1880’s at Gibson Ranch in McDowell Valley and Carignane from the 1950’s planted on soils that remind me of Pauillac in Ukiah. As always, all the lots were picked early and all except the Grenache Gris were whole-cluster pressed. This, I think, though I am sure I will continue to refine, is the best Ode to Lulu to date. Fresh, perfumed, lifted, bright, clean, dense, and delicious. 12.6%.
2013 Carlisle Vineyard Zinfandel
Russian River Valley
Planted 1934. If you are excited about seeing this vineyard on a Bedrock label you can only imagine my sheer joy. I count Mike and Kendall Officer as some of my closest friends and the wines from Carlisle occupy a large portion of my own cellar. Beyond this, Mike and I have spent many hours in vineyards together and he is one of the best ampelographers (the science of vine variety identification) I have ever met. So, when he called during harvest last year and said that he had a few extra tons that he simply did not have space for, I was thrilled to take them. Carlisle Vineyard is perhaps the most diverse vineyard I have seen (almost 40 varieties) and this wine comes from a section that is particularly heavy with Petite Sirah. It is one of many favorites from the vintageâ€”opulent, dark, spicy and reflecting its proud Russian River Valley heritage. The only downside is that this could be the only vintage we make the wine (unless my Faustian bargain with Mephistopheles comes to fruition and Mike gets a little extra crop every year!).
2013 Old Vine Zinfandel
The 2013 Old Vine Zinfandel comes from vines averaging over 80 years of age. Like its predecessor, the lovely 2012, it benefited enormously from the second year in a row of exceptional quality with higher than average yields. Though its core still revolves around the Sonoma Valley appellation (Bedrock Vineyard, Monte Rosso, and Casa Santinamaria Vineyard), we have become geographically more adventurous due to the addition of a few pretty amazing vineyards. The first of these is Nervo Ranch in Alexander Valley with its steep, decomposed shale soils. The second is Sodini Ranch on Limerick Lane in the Russian River Valley that Bedrock Wine Co. happily farms. The last is the amazing Stampede Vineyard in the Clements Hills AVA of Lodi: own-rooted on granitic sands and planted in 1919, it is a star in the making under the new ownership of the Perlegos family. There are also bits of Papera Ranch, Pagani Ranch, and Lorenzo’s in the blend. Though it is legally a Zinfandel, and labeled as such, it is also a Bedrock wine so you can be sure it has its full quotient of the wacky, weird and wonderful in it as well—nearly 23% Carignane, Mourvedre, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Abouriou, Aubun, and assorted mixed white varieties. We are thrilled with this wine–I think it is every bit as good as the 2012 though perhaps reflective of the age-worthy 2013 vintage.
2013 Dolinsek Ranch Heritage Wine
Russian River Valley
Planted 1910. This is my favorite vintage of this wine so far. Perhaps a little less forward than the gregarious 2012, this still has the dramatic perfume and opulence that Dolinsek typically has. From vines planted in 1910 on a north-facing slope of Sandy Goldridge Loam, this comes from one of the cooler parts of the Russian River Valley. The vineyard is composed of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Teroldego, Syrah, Golden Chasselas and even a little delicious Black Muscat.
2013 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc
First, it should be noted that despite not being a “vineyard designated” wine, the Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc is stronger than it has ever been. The reason for this was the addition of Judge Family Vineyard to the wine—a site so rocky that Joe Judge removed 200 tons of rock merely to make the site plantable for grapes. Like Kick Ranch, which is 22% of the blend, the rocky site limits the vigor of the naturally robust Sauvignon Blanc grape and makes for more concentrated fruit. Roughly 15% of the wine was done in the celebrated “cigare” barrels created by Dider Dageneau and coopered by Tonnellerie Ateleir from tight-grain and lightly toasted oak. The remainder of the wine split its fermentation between neutral oak barrels and stainless steel. The resulting wine is the type of Sauvignon Blanc I like to drink, interestingly textured, layered, racy and exotically perfumed. 14.1%
2013 Gibson Ranch Grenache
McDowell Valley, Mendocino CA
When life gives you ancient Grenache, make ancient Grenache! After picking out our bit of Grenache for rosé at Gibson Ranch I got a call from the ranch’s new owner Jake Bilbro. It was their first year working the vineyard and it turns out they had a few extra tons of the Grenache left. Would I be interested? The stuff we got for rosé had been phenomenal and I wondered what it would look like for red. It should also be noted that none of us are too sure what type of Grenache is up there. It has very light pigmentation and the clusters take on a grayish caste, leading many to suspect it is actually Grenache Gris. Another friend thinks it is too dark for Gris but might be Grenache Rouge, but not Grenache Noir. I frankly don’t know what it is, but I know it is delicious. I have long wanted to make a light, summer, red—a California version of Beaujolais or Pinot D’Aunis or Frappato (yes, I know, those are not just summer wines) but perhaps kissed with just a trace more sunshine. Something fresh, juicy, spicy, and delicious. This fits that description. It was fermented with 50% whole-cluster with no foot-trodding to maximize carbonic fermentation with the rest destemmed. It fermented to dryness with native yeasts and underwent ML in a combination of neutral barrels and concrete tank. 13.8%
2013 Compagni Portis Heritage White Wine
Planted 1954. It was a unique year for this already singular vineyard. Planted in 1954 to a field-blend of Gewurtzraminer, Riesling, Trousseau Gris, Roter Veltliner, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris, along with others, and organically farmed by Phil Coturri in concord with Bedrock Wine Co., the vineyard is a jewel. In 2013 the Gewurtzraminer ripened at a more accelerated pace while the Trousseau Gris and Riesling lagged behind. The result is a wine that is both unctuous and highly aromatic but with higher acidity than is typical for this vineyard. Fermented with native yeasts in a combination of old oak and stainless steel barrels this wine did not go through malolactic but did sit on lees for close to 10 months.
2013 Abrente Godello
Godello?! What is Godello? Good question. When Michael (Havens) suggested we plant a little of it I thought he was a bit nuts. Upon tasting a number of lovely examples from the Valdeorras area of Spain where the variety harkens from I was easily convinced. I also had to remind myself that Michael is strangely prescient sometimes—he talked Lee Hudson into planting some of the first cool-climate Syrah in northern California, was the first to make Albarino in the New World, and even made the first Sine Que Non wine. We talked equally addled John Baillie into grafting over some Merlot at his nicely situated Birdland Vineyard at the base of Sonoma Mountain to the variety. Highly textured and aromatic, this is the type of white variety we love. Primary fermentation was done in stainless steel with native yeast, the wine was put down to neutral oak barrels with the majority of its lees and malolactic was prevented to retain the wines spine. The wine is delicious, one of the best of many happy surprises from the great 2013 vintage. Aromatics of grapefruit, blood orange, tarragon and anise and a textured and layered mouthfeel.