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New and Old World Natural Wine

Simon here. The wine world is oh so exciting! More and more winemakers are returning to the wisdom of nature to inform how they grow and make their wines. As part of this, it's fun to see people experimenting with new varietals or returning to indigenous stock that might be better suited to the terroir. This week we feature two wines made far apart from one another, and yet they bare a similar story of winemakers that are experimenting with unexpected varietals, and working with the land using organic or biodynamic methods out of respect for nature. I love meeting winemakers who get as much joy as I do out of compost!


The season of rosé and skin contact white wines is upon us and it is fitting that this week’s white comes to us from our own sun-drenched Californian countryside. Winemaker Darek Trowbridge's approach to winemaking is very much in line with our own values around respect for nature and terroir. We're always excited to find something we love, born from the very California soil we walk on day to day.

 



Skin contact white wine is made by crushing grapes and leaving the juice to macerate and partially ferment on the skins before eventually pressing it off. The skins from the grapes often impart a color, like orange or pink, depending on the type of grapes used. The added time on the skins can also add a layer of flavor and structural complexity. This is similar to rosé, which is generally made from red wine varietals but often given less time on the skins to fully absorb the color.


This oh-too-easy-to sip summer wine is grown just north of us in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma - a region with a slightly cooler climate that tends to lead to more balanced acids than some of the hotter wine areas nearby. Darek farms the land organically and biodynamically and uses traditional winemaking methods taken from the old world that avoid the use of any chemical intervention. We felt an immediate connection with him when talking about his philosophy around nature, terroir and wine. This natural blush-colored wine has faint notes of rose buds, rose hips and ripe apple. It is like sipping sunshine in a glass. Enjoy this on a lazy afternoon with friends with a simple side of cheeses.


We are excited to visit Darek and the Old World Winery to see the magic they are making first hand. Stay tuned for pictures!

 



Back over to Europe we go for our red this week, where the Gassner’s are producing natural, evocative wines made from the native grapes of the area. Robert and Marianne started making wines in 2007 for friends and family, but didn’t start releasing commercially until 2015. They farm their beautiful speck of land biodynamically and the resulting wines are making quite the name for themselves. This Blaufränkisch is just so elegant. It has that beautiful inky color and great mineral tension, with lovely notes of sour cherries and cranberries. This is a wine for the calm contemplation while the lamb chops are sizzling on the barbecue and you’re getting ready to feast.


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