The 2017 Rosato di Tannat is my second year at making rosé from the often deep & colorful Tannat grape. This year’s version was harvested by hand by me & my son Austin on 9/4/2017 at the new Burkland Family Vineyard located in Livermore. The vineyard has been established for 9 years, but under the previous owner, all of the fruit had been used for their personal consumption. We’re lucky to have access to this wonderful hilltop vineyard, planted just a few miles west of Mt. Diablo. I brought the grapes back to Napa & crushed them by foot & pressed with only 2 to 4 hours skin contact time. I was amazed at the amount of color we extracted for such a short skin contact time. The wine is extremely crisp & refreshing with bright steely finish. A perfect summer sipper, with notes of raspberry & watermelon. Aged 7 Months in combination of Stainless Steel & Glass Demijohns.
When I first purchased grapes from Charlie Cosen’s Lone Pine Vineyards in 2016, I was struck by the intense fruit character of his Lagrein & the rich deep color extraction that I could extract from these grapes. Since the 2016 Lagrein all went into only my red wines, I decided – why not harvest the 2017 a little earlier & make a rosé out of that – so we could see the amazing spectrum of flavor that this grape can provide. We harvested by hand on 9/16/2017 & I brought the grapes back to Napa & crushed them by foot & pressed with only 3 to 12 hours skin contact time. I let one batch stay longer on the skins & allowed it to spontaneously ferment using wild yeast. The other batch was pressed after 3 – 4 hours of skin contact & fermented with RP-15 yeast, which was isolated from spontaneous Rockpile Syrah fermentations in California. I loved the contrast between the 2 fermentation methods, but blended together, they make a wonderfully complex rosé, with layers of lilac, plum & cherry, with a crisp bright finish. Perfect when paired with blackened meats, rich bbq sauces or firewood flatbreads! Aged 7 Months in combination of Stainless Steel & Glass Demijohns.
I just love – love – LOVE skin fermented white wines. Typically white grapes are pressed immediately, but their skins have pigmentation – just like red grapes, although not as pronounced. Often times the color from skin fermented white grapes comes out like a coppery – orange color. Some call them Orange Wines. The Italians call them Ramato, which translates to “copper color.” The crazy thing was – when I picked these Pinot Gris grapes in Clarksburg, they had a brownish green color, but after fermenting on the skins for 9 days, I was shocked to see it developing a light rose color! It looked like one of my red grape rosatos! The Pinot based varietals tend to be very fickle with color, sometimes mutating from red to white grapes & back to red – all within the same vineyard, so I wasn’t entirely shocked – but I really love how this wine came out. It is extremely fresh, bright & complex. It pops on your pallet with a vibrant freshness & then expands into notes of hay, spice & citrus, A truly unique wine but extremely limited. As such, we are limiting purchases to 3 bottles per person / 6 per wine club member & no additional discounts off of this wine, unless combines with a full mixed case order.
The idea behind Grapewagon Red is create a fun & enjoyable daily red wine that fresh & easy. It is an opportunity for us to play around with super small lots & unconventional blending experiments, without concern for varietal or AVA labeling. My Great-Grandfather couldn’t tell Zinfandel from Grenache & didn’t care either. As long as the grapes were fresh, ripe & tasted amazing, they would come home for the crush. GWR allows us the freedom to make the best fresh red wine we can at a price that you can enjoy every day. The 2016 GWR in mostly Zinfandel from Lodi, with small amounts of Merlot from Livermore & Lagrein from The Sierra Foothills blended in & then aged for 5 months in 3 year old French Oak barrels.
This is essentially a field blended wine where Lagrein & Refosco grapes growing at the top elevation of Charlie Cosen’s Lone Pine Vineyard. These grapes grow & were harvested together at about an 1800 foot elevation & create a wonderful blend that accentuates both the floral & red berry notes of Refosco, with the deep, rich brooding complexity of Lagrein. Harvested on 9/23/2016, I crushed half the Lagrein & all of the Refosco by hand & fermented with RP-15 yeast, which was isolated from spontaneous Rockpile Syrah fermentations in California. After primary fermentation, Brothers Blend was aged for the first 10 months in stainless steel & then 7 months in a small medium toast French Oak barrel. This wine will continue to improve in the bottle for 2 – 5 years, but is drinking great now.
Lagrein is a Northern Italian grape varietal that has the potential to extract huge amounts of flavor color & complexity. I wanted to celebrate these aspects by creating the biggest, boldest variation of Lagrein that we could develop from this vineyard. My goal was take it to The Heights – in Italian “Altezze!” I called this Lagrein “Altezze Dell’Amore” because, like love we took it to it’s highest level & pushed it even further to see how deep & high we could get. We picked & crushed the fruit by hand & then went through primary fermentation for about 10 days. I then cold-soaked the new wine for another 3 days – extracting more color, flavor & tannin. The wine was then pressed into small Heavy Toast French Oak barrels & aged for just about 18 months. This is a beast of a wine – full of rich complex notes of coffee, chocolate & spice. This wine will definitely improve with age for another 4 – 6 years, but can be enjoyed now. Just make sure you decant it for at least an hour – preferably 2 to 3 hours to allow all of the rich & complex aromas to develop & express themselves in your glass. Enjoy with big rich pasta sauces, sausages, braciole & charcuterie.