Title: Malvasia Bianca
Grape: Malvasia Bianca
Location: California, Monterey
This is a great way to start off the month of September Club Caravan. This wine is made entirely from the Malvasia Bianca grape varietal. This alone is a bold move by a winery here in the States. Much more common in northern Italy and Eastern Europe, this varietal has found a little foothold in California. It has wonderfully intense aromatics of jasmine and elderflower, and a rich mouthfeel that makes each sip an experience.
Birichino translates from Italian to mean “mischievous”. The winemakers embody this name by working against the traditional grain in California. In the Malvasia Bianca, they created a wine that is from an obscure varietal, rambunctious with aromatics, and quite viscous in the mouth reminding us of many French Alsatian whites. This wine is a standout.
Alex Krause and John Locke founded Birichino in Santa Cruz in 2008. Their preference is for minimal intervention, most often favoring native fermentations, employing stainless or neutral barrels, minimal racking and fining, and avoiding filtration altogether when possible.
Producer: Deux Punx
Title: Pinot Gris Rosé “McKenzie Mueller Vineyard”
Grape: Pinot Gris
Location: USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros AVA
Here we get into a wine that is not often seen: Pink Pinot Gris. The common color for wines from this grape is pale yellow, even with a slight hint of green. The grape itself is actually somewhat darker colored. The name Gris or Grigio translates into “grey”, and the skin is often grey colored with pink or brown tones. So, when Deux Punx winery got a hold of some Pinot Gris they decided to experiment a bit. After crushing the grapes, they left the juice in contact with the skins and the flesh for 5 days. All the color of the skins went into the juice, giving you this soft-pink colored wine.
Deux Punx was founded by Dan Schaaf and Aaron Olson, two wine addicted ex-punks, in April of 2008. They believe in minimal intervention when making wine; this means allowing for native yeast fermentation, using the absolute minimum of so2, and ambient temperatures instead of extensive temperature control. All of these approaches let the grapes, the flesh, the fermenting juice and eventual alcohol express their true nature. Only 23 cases of this wine were made.
Title: Dolcetto d’Alba “Bric del Salto”
Location: Italy, Piedmont, Dolcetto d’Alba, Neive
To create this Dolcetto, the winemakers pulled grapes from three different vineyard sites within Nieve. This curation of grapes should be looked at in the same way we might consider how a chef composes a dish or spices a particular piece of food. Grapes grown in different places (even in the same region but different vineyard sites) will provide different characteristics to the wine. This is a reflection of what terroir can do and how knowing qualities of the land (i.e. soil type, temperatures throughout days and night, drainage aspects, other present flora) can assist in recognizing micro-biomes. This knowledge gives the winemaker more creative control when crafting the final wine.
The Dolcetto grapes harvested from these sites underwent a 20 day fermentation and maceration with native yeasts. The wine rested in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and was bottled without any fining or filtration. Winemaker Rino and his son Andrea work organically and believe the goal of their process is to preserve the natural balance of the soils, so that they get the most honest expression from the vines.