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- LIVING WINES COLLECTIVE, SAM BARON, SHAUNT OUNGOULIAN – Organic
- MARTHA STOUMEN WINES, Northern California
- LO-FI WINES, MIKE ROTH CRAIG WINCHESTER, LOS ALAMOS – Biodynamic
- FORLORN HOPE, MATTHEW RORICK, NAPA– Organic What he does
- RUTH LEWANDOWSKI WINES, EVAN LEWANDOWSKI, Utah – Organic
- RYME CELLARS, MEGAN AND RYAN GLEB, Healdsburg – Organic
CARTE BLANCHE ALBARINO-VERDEHLO BLEND
THE PLEASANT PEASANT CARIGNAN
BLUE CHEER CARIGNAN & CINSAULT
OUT OF THE BLUE CINSAULT
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LIVING WINES COLLECTIVE, SAM BARON, SHAUNT OUNGOULIAN – Organic
Populis is the love child of three winemaking school friends, Diego Roig, Sam Baron, and Shaunt Oungoulian. Populis was
born from the desire to make lighthearted, naturally made, extremely drinkable wines from exciting vineyard sites throughout
California. We partner with farmers who grow organically, many of whom dry farm historic, old vine vineyards.
The Populis white – Chardonnay (76%) & French Colombard (24%) – comes from two sites: Dobson Vineyard on own-rooted
Chardonnay, planted 1972 and Green Valley Vineyard where the Colombard was planted 1963. Dobson vineyard is located at
the base of Mt. Lassen, which rests at the southernmost point of the Cascade Range. The soils are from the Cohasset series,
which are deep clay loams formed from decomposed volcanic rock. Mt. Lassen has been active for millions of years, giving
very heterogeneous and complex soils in this area. The high elevation vineyard site of 2800 feet (850 m), and the constant
cold air flowing down from the perennially snowy peak of Mt. Lassen, gives cooler temperatures throughout the growing
season. Green Valley has deep soils formed from high pH igneous rocks. The location of the vineyard is ideal as cooling
effects from the San Pablo bay help to maintain freshness and acidity during the ripening period.
Both vineyards are farmed organically, but are not currently certified.
Whole clusters were pressed directly. The juice was allowed to settle overnight and decanted off the grape solids. The juice
fermented in a mixture of neutral French oak barrels and 12 hl polymer tanks. No sulphur or inoculation was made at this
point and the fermentation was 100% indigenous. The wine was aged for 7 months sur lies, blended, and bottled with a little
bit of spritz to keep it fresh and lively (think Basque Txakoli style mouthfeel).
Ripe fruit, yeast, cheese rind, and volcanic
minerality on the nose. The palate hits with ripe Chardonnay and savoury flavours, but the laser like of acid of the Colombard
and a bit of spritz keep this wine fresh.
The Populis red comes from Poor Ranch. It is massale selection Carignane planted in 1948. The vineyard is located on Pinole
soils, which are fairly deep gravelly, clay loams formed in alluvium from weathered sedimentary rock. These Pinole soils are
particularly well suited to viticulture as their pH is quite high for CA and their depth and clay content lend to deeper and
larger root systems, allowing for dry-farming. The Poor family has been homesteading and growing grapes at this location
since the late 1800’s for four generations. These vines have been organically dry-farmed since their planting 67 years ago.
The clusters were 100% destemmed upon receipt. No yeast or sulphur was added and the fermentation was 100% indigenous.
Once a day pump-overs were performed throughout the moderately warm maceration. The wine was pressed after ten days of
maceration and raised in neutral French oak barrels for seven months.
This wine is dangerously drinkable! Delicious red fruit and animal aromas lead to a rich mid palate with a solid backbone of
acid throughout. One glass is just never enough.
POPULIS RED BLEND ~ Carignane, Nero d’Avola, Zinfandel, Tempranillo
POPULIS RED WABI-SABI
One-woman winemaking and grape growing project based in Northern California. Martha seeks to express wines that
represent her land with purity and precision. She has chosen to work with sun-loving grapes: either those historic to
California Viticulture, or those that flourish and maintain elegance in California's warmth, such as Carignan, Zinfandel, and
Nero d'Avola, whilst utilising natural, traditional winemaking practices she learned while apprenticing in Italy and Southern
France (Didier Barral). And most importantly, to truly respect her Californian roots, she ensures hervineyards are farmed in
such a way that healthy ecosystems are
created and maintained.
Post Flirtation is a zippy, glou glou (french wine slang for gulpable) version of a traditional California red blend:
At only 11.3% alcohol this wine showcases all of the raspberry, hibiscus, and rhubarb zing that these two grapes can exhibit
when picked on the fresher side.
Composed of Carignan (65%), planted in 1948. Head-trained vines, dry-farmed from a Mediterranean climate in Venturi
Vineyard, Mendocino County AVA grown on sandstone/quartz. Whole cluster, foot stomped fermentation and aged in neutral
oak for 6 months.
The remainder is Zinfandel (35%). Planted in the 60s, these head-trained, dry farmed vines are the youngest in the historic
Del Barba vineyard in Contra Costa County. Grown in pure sand. Imagine walking on the beach—that’s what the soil is like
in this vineyard. Destemmed and aged in stainless steel for 6 months to preserve freshness.
POST FLIRTATION ~ Carignane, Zinfandel
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LO-FI WINES, MIKE ROTH & CRAIG WINCHESTER, LOS ALAMOS – Biodynamic
Lo-Fi is a partnership between two lifelong friends who believe in hand crafted honest wines that are made for every day
drinking. Wines to be enjoyed not to be collected. Easy drinking lower alcohol wines made to pair well with all types of foods.
Mike Roth believes in neutral barrels, native yeasts, little to no sulphur additions, and no adjustment of pH. He loves whole
cluster fermentation. We adore carbonic maceration and embraces a nothing-added, nothing taken away philosophy that
gives birth to wines that are young, vibrant and alive. But in all reality Lo-Fi is less about what it is and more about what it is
not. The Cinsault was hand-harvested from the steep slopes of the biodynamically-farmed Demetria Estate early on a cold and
foggy October morning by the light of the harvest moon. The grapes were fermented whole-cluster in an open top bin, given a
few foot treads and later daily pumpovers. After two weeks the grapes were pressed and barrelled down to a 600 litre demi-
muid and aged for a further six months. No added sulphur. Turbid cherry-red with thick raspberry fruit and hints of wild
herbs and leather. Although a medium-full bodied wine it drinks so easily with its moreish savoury quality. Good natural (very
FORLORN HOPE, MATTHEW RORICK, NAPA– Organic
What he does: An eclectic curation of California’s lesser-known and forgotten.
Harvest snack: Alabama-style barbecue from the B&J Barbecue truck, Fairfield.
Quote: “Just being weird isn’t enough. It’s got to be good. It’s got to be the right variety on the right soil.
Jon Bonne – SF Chronicle
ALBARINO RORICK VINEYARD
TROUSSEAU RORICK VINEYARD
SUSPIRO DEL MORO ALVARELHAO
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RUTH LEWANDOWSKI WINES, EVAN LEWANDOWSKI, Utah – Organic
Evan Lewandowski lives in Utah where he is planting vines.
Why “Natural Wine”?
“Natural wine is the true expression of the land by way of a grapevine. I’m not interested in debating exactly WHAT natural
wine is. People get all up tight about numbers and definitions in the wine world. It tends to be easier explaining exactly what
natural wine is not.
It is not industrially farmed with the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides and fungicides and fertilizers. It isn’t an
industrially produced beverage product through employing unnecessary amounts of sulphur, without cultured ‘designer’ yeast
and/or bacteria strains, and the myriad of other techno cellar wizardry products we have at our fingertips these days. No acid
additions, no sugar, no water, no tannin, no filtration for filtration’s sake, etc etc. Insomuch as it is possible, I strive to
produce wine made of SOLELY grape juice. That is, to me, the true expression of the land via the grapevine.”
And what wines! For starters a thrilling Grenache Gris called Naomi from dry-farmed centenarian vines in McDowell Valley
in Mendocino County. He ferments whole-cluster, presses the fruit and separates the juice from the skins to ferment in egg-
shaped tank. The manually controlled press cycle is a long, fairly rough one to extract a higher than average amount of
phenolic material from the beautiful, very unique fruit.
After about three weeks, native alcoholic fermentation was complete, and by the end of November the malolactic conversion
had also taken place naturally. Naomi saw no winemaking additions of any kind except for a scant 20ppm of So2 at bottling. It
is unfined, unfiltered, and completely intriguing. There truly is no better indication that your vineyard and the subsequent fruit
born of the vineyard are healthy than a naturally healthy fermentation. Without the ‘help’ of cultured yeast, bacteria, yeast
nutrient, fining agents, filtration, or sulfur during the winemaking process, one is entirely at the whim of the organisms that
exist in the vineyard and in one’s winery.
Over the ageing process, Naomi develops a faintly peachy glow, which just so happens to match the white peach aroma.
Overripe pear and a touch of creamy pineapple round things out… Whites made from the Grenache family often have a
somewhat waxy or oily texture...this rings true here, with a refreshingly balanced acidity to counter the weight. Taut
minerality carried by the reduction and a compressed leesiness give this wine a further edge.
Sourced from the famous Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, Chilion is Evan’s singular take on Cortese. As Evan remarks the
grapes gradually turn the most beautiful opalescent apricot hue in the vineyard and gather some very interesting cognac-like
spice and this was his impetus to skin-ferment the Chilion. “I couldn’t simply ditch the skins in the compost heap. So just like
a red wine, the Chilion fermented to complete dryness and finished its malolactic fermentation, bubbling away for just over
seven weeks before I decided to press.”
Fermented and aged naturally (without the ‘help’ of cultured yeast, bacteria, yeast nutrient, fining agents, filtration, or
sulphur) in both egg-shaped tank and old, neutral barrique, Chilion is another mould-breaker. First off, it is orange. The nose
bequeaths a captivating mix of apricots and golden apple, that aforementioned cognac spice and candied orange rind. The
palate is equally as enigmatic suggestive of quince and baking spice and crushed rocks. It’s got refreshing acidity, a pleasing
amount of tannin and at 12.9% abv, it is deceptively light yet with the sturdiness to age. One is reminded of Stefano Bellotti’s
Feints is a blend of Arneis, Dolcetto and Barbera. On the nose, it reveals peppery raspberries and forest-ey meaty aromas.
The palate is equally intriguing. It’s lively, with fresh acidity, and an ever so slight presence of tannin. A very light red. A
really deeply hued rosé.
Boax is old vines Carignan, whole cluster ferment lends a brighter, higher-toned aromatic profile, a mellowing of acidity and
an all-around more delicate side to what might otherwise be a very muscular wine. Concentrated, with intense structure, it's
just very well balanced by fresh acidity, florality and bright berry tones.
MAHLON ~ Arneis
NAOMI ~ Grenache Gris
CHILION ~ Cortese
FEINTS CUVEE ZERO ~ Arneis, Dolcetto, Barbera
BOAZ CUVEE ZERO ~ Carignan, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon
BOAZ CUVEE ZERO - magnum
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RYME CELLARS, MEGAN AND RYAN GLEB, Healdsburg – Organic
Megan and Ryan Glaab met in Australia working as seasonal cellar hands at Torbreck Winery. They quickly fell in love and
got married. Between the two of us they worked at wineries such as Pax Wine Cellars, Peay Vineyards, Sine Qua Non, and
Marcassin before starting Ryme Cellars in 2007 with one ton of Aglianico. Excited by the intensity and complexity of this
wine, they embarked on producing intriguing wines from varieties that they personally enjoyed, to date making two
Vermentinos, Ribolla Gialla, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and the aforementioned Aglianico.
“We love wines with distinctive character. They should taste great on their own, but really shine alongside good food. We love
wines with ample tannin and acidity, especially if they are expected to age. We always value a great wine’s idiosyncrasies
over a polished supple sameness that is so common in the wine world.”
The wines come from conscientiously farmed organic or sustainable vineyards and produced according to simple methods,
always encouraged, never controlled. They use no cultured yeast, no temperature control, no enzymes or other adulterating
influences. They do not fine or filter. The wines are raised in used French oak barriques between 2 and 10 years old. Many of
the reds are fermented on the stems. Many of the whites are fermented on the skins.
From time to time, they have different interpretations of a wine’s true identity, in which case, they maintain separate
projects. Such is the case with the “His” and “Hers” Vermentino. “Hers” pressed, settled clean, and bottled early. “His”
picked later, destemmed, fermented on skins, and aged longer. These are both delicious wines in their very different ways,
exemplifying how terroir can be channelled into different directions but the wines can remain true to their origins. Hers has
beautiful aromas of white peach and pear with floral undertones. The palate is bright with lively acidity, crisp fruit, and a
clean finish. Perfect with shellfish. His took two weeks to ferment, whole cluster. Pressed to neutral barrel for 10 months
ageing. Minimal sulphur addition. Light golden colour (more gold than orange) and tastes of lemon/peach purée, crushed
rocks, yellow roses, kiwi, green tea, grapefruit and some tannin to round off.
The Ribolla is luminescent sunny gold in the glass with aromas of clove and anise spiced honey and crisp yellow apple. The
rich palate and chewy tannins are reminiscent of biting into a meltingly soft persimmon, whereas the Fiano conveys rich fruity
aromas of crisp melon, feijoa and charred pineapple with spicy green cardamom and a light peaty smokiness. The palate is
full of vibrant energy and dense fruit with a firm resinous phenolic structure.
Explosive and massively concentrated the Aglianico shows a dense black core with a ruby rim in the glass. Blackberry, smoke,
damp earth, and cured meat. The wine is powerfully structured with sweet coating tannins, richly fruit driven, with prominent
acidity and distinct meaty umami quality
Megan and Ryan are at the forefront of a small group of independent artisan growers called 7% Solution. The idea behind
this is that approximately 93% of the vines in California rest in only 7 grape types. The 7% Solution brought together wines
with a focus on the remaining few. The wines are more than offbeat – they are true to their origins and their vineyards.
VERMENTINO HERS “LAS BRISAS VINEYARD”
VERMENTINO HIS “LAS BRISAS VINEYARD”
RIBOLLA GIALLA “VARE VINEYARD”
FIANO LAGO VINEYARD
AGLIANCO “LUNA MATTA VINEYARD”
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IDLEWILD WINES, SAM BILBRO, Healdsburg
Idlewild has a relatively concise aim within a broad context: to produce wines of exceptional balance and beauty. It is a
journey to pursue Italy’s Piedmont in the elevated hills of Mendocino County, and to find the sides of these varieties that are
intriguing, delicious, and haunting. Each wine is unique and treated as such, though the common thread is balancing depth
and seriousness with vibrancy and joyfulness. Emphasis is on the vineyard followed by minimalist winemaking techniques.
While not dogmatic in practice, an honest and sustainable approach is fundamental in making wines of purity.
Located in a funky concrete warehouse turned simple winery, the focus is not on a tasting room nor any sense of grandiosity
but instead on the vineyards and what is in the bottle. Grapes are predominently sourced from Fox Hill Vineyard in
Mendocino County where Idlewild is allowed full oversight of the farming.
In his version, it is the collection of varietals from the cellar that make up the blend for the year. For 2015, The Bee
compromisesof roughly 35% Muscat Canelli (a.k.a Muscat Blanc, Moscato Bianco), 35% Friulano, 20% Arneis, and 10%
Cortese. The Muscat Canelli comes from organically farmed, well drained volcanic soils on the southwest edge of Lake
County. The Friulano and Cortese both come from Fox Hill Vineyard with soils that are well drained with high concentrations
of gravel and sandstone. The Arneis for this blend comes from the high altitude of Potter Valley in Northeast Mendocino.
the grapes were whole cluster pressed, fermented via native yeasts, left on all the lees and solids, aged in neutral oak, and
underwent native secondary fermentation. Complexity and texture are gained from allowing secondary fermentation and
aging on lees in neutral oak for four months, while the structure and acidity from picking plenty early allow for great vibrancy
and energy through the wine.
The broad spectrum of aromatics includes spicy wildflowers, wet river rocks, green papaya, peach, honey, salty air, and
alpine freshness. The mouthfeel is lean and linear with just a kiss of mid palate weight and texture before a vibrant acid
Fox Hill Vineyard is without a doubt one of the most unique vineyards in Northern California. One of its true beauties is that
it has remained relatively unknown. Located southeast of Ukiah on Mendocino’s Talmage Bench, the soils are well drained
with high concentrations of gravel and sandstone, and the farming is as old fashioned and straight forward as it gets. What
makes this site so unique though is the fact that Lowell Stone decided to buck every trend and simply plant what he was
interested in planting. Many trips to Italy turned to inspiration and the wild spectrum of varieties began to take root. There
are two blocks that I work with due to their more sheltered and north facing (read cooler) aspects. The Arneis sits in sandy,
gravelly, well-drained soils that foster naturally balanced vines
four months in neutral oak on lees adds texture and complexity that are counterbalanced by being sure to pick while the
acidity is still racy and pure. Almonds, peach, spiced pear, pine needles, alpine flowers, and fresh salty marine air highlight
the aromatics. The mouthfeel is clean and lean with a note of savoury leesy density through the mid palate before a racy acid
driven finish that has a touch of clean almond bitterness.
Flora and Fauna loosely means the collection of plant and animal life of a certain epoch. In my version, it is the collection of
varietals from the cellar that make up the blend for the year. For 2015, The Bird is comprised of roughly 35% Dolcetto, 35%
Barbera, and 30% Nebbiolo. While the wine is designated as Mendocino County, the majority of the fruit in fact comes from
Fox Hill Vineyard. Located southeast of Ukiah on Mendocino’s Talmage Bench, the soils are well drained with high
concentrations of gravel and sandstone. In contrast to the varietal bottling of these wines, these grapes are from sections of
the vineyard that yield softer structure and are handled with this early to bottle style in mind
The focus in fermentation was to build enough structure for a very versatile food wine but also to emphasize the exuberant
and delicious elements of each grape. To do this, the wines were left largely whole cluster and all fermentations started with
carbonic maceration. That being said, none of them were pushed to be fully carbonic wines. Instead, the initial lift in
aromatics and push on frothy fresh fruits was achieved, and then Sam fully trod the wines to allow fermentation to switch to a
more standard flow. This gave a backbone and savoury qualities to act as bass notes to the carbonic high tones. All of the
wines were pressed a touch early to ensure that that tannic structure was appropriate for a shorter time in barrel, just four
months in neutral oak.
The Bird displays black cherries, anise, fresh strawberries, freshly turned soil, and spicy floral tones highlight the aromatic
profile. The mouthfeel is fresh and bright, leans towards a touch of mouth filling richness, and then quickly moves to a clean
and firm food driven finish
THE BEE FAUNA FLORA WHITE ~ Muscat Canelli, Friulano, Arneis, Cortese
ARNEIS FOX HILL VINEYARD
THE BIRD FLORA FAUNA RED ~ Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo
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