Our 2013 Wines
2013 Gibson Ranch Grenache Gris
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 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 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%