Brian McKee Presents Field Recordings, Lo-Fi, and Broc Cellars
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
Please welcome Brian McKee from Encore Wines 6:30-8:30 tonight with a lineup of California producers: Field Recordings, Lo-Fi, and Broc Cellars. These producers represent a new guard of California winemakers, using native yeasts, low sulfur levels, making lower alcohol wines that show off lots of nuance. Yet they don't seem to sacrifice anything in the way of being succulent and gratifying.
Field Recordings is a Central Coast operation that stemmed from winemaker Andrew Jones' other job planting vines and helping farmers plan their vineyards. As he sees 2-3 million vines planted every year, it gives him quite an insider's advantage to obtaining fruit from small plots and off-the-radar sites.
Lo-Fi is a partnership between Mike Roth, former winemaker at Martian Ranch, and his close friend Craig Winchester. They are into the idea of wine as a peasant's beverage, 'the ultimate condiment' to accompany food. Mike also believes 'if you keep your cellar clean, you don't have to add a bunch of things to your wines.'
Chris Brockway uses only grapes farmed organically or Biodynamically for Broc Cellars, making the wines in Berkeley in a low-tech fashion. He's making some of the most consistently delicious wines in California these days with this approach.
FIELD RECORDINGS 2016 PET NAT
Arroyo Grande Valley, CA
Fascinating 100% Chardonnay from Andrew Jones. Smells like a Belgian-style farmhouse ale, but with lean acidity, crisp apple, melon, and pear. Just funky enough to grab your interest, but stays bright and refreshing.
LO-FI 2015 CABERNET FRANC
Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Central Coast Cab Franc from the meticulously-farmed Coquelicot Vineyard. Some bell pepper and subtle texture give depth to this otherwise quaffable, super-delicious wine. Ripe and juicy, but right on the line that makes it satiating, not sappy.
BROC CELLARS 2015 LOVE RED
Solano County, CA
65% Carignan, 20% Valdigue (formerly thought to be Gamay), and 15% Syrah from 50-70 year-old vines. Fantastic, lip-smacking cherry fruit with enough spice and lift to pair with lots of food. Try it with rich pork or beef dishes, it's killer.
Gab Bowler Presents the Wines of La Clarine Farm
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
Hank Beckmeyer & Caroline Hoel of La Clarine Farm (photo by Hawk Wakawaka)
Please welcome Gab Bowler from Bowler Wine 6:30-8:30 tonight with the wines of La Clarine Farm in the Sierra Foothills. Hank Beckmeyer was playing with the art punk outfit Half Japanese in Europe when he met Caroline Hoel. They wanted to create wines like they'd become smitten with in Europe, but in California. 16 years after purchasing the La Clarine Farm property 2600 feet up in the foothills of the Sierras, they are one of the most recognized names coming from that region. Their own vines are left to their own wild ways as much as possible, and they also buy grapes from neighbors working without chemicals. The wines are distinctive, but they are getting less funky and more refined, while not losing their feral attitude or rugged purity.
LA CLARINE FARM 2015 JAMBALAIA ROUGE
Sierra Foothils, CA
A lighter, glou-glou style of wine made from red and white grapes, this is 59% Mourvedre, 21% Marsanne, 15% Grenache, and 5% Syrah. Tart, chewy raspberry notes balance out wild, juicy, fruit. Perfect for chugging cold directly out of the fridge, this is joyful and refreshing.
LA CLARINE FARM 2015 PIEDI GRANDI
Sierra Foothills, CA
A blend of nearly equal parts Nebbiolo and Mourvedre, this has brambly, chewy, tannic fruit but the earthy, dark elements don't overpower the lively, pleasurably sonorous poise. Great for grillin'.
LA CLARINE FARM 2015 SUMU KAW SYRAH
Sierra Foothils, CA
The Sumu Kaw gets better every vintage, and this bottling shows off deep, lovely blackberry, with sage and subtle tannin. More elegant and less rambunctious than in the past, it's an invigorating and soulful expression of the work being done at Clarine Farm.
Meet the Winemaker: Joe Swick
Wednesday, April 12th, 2017
Tonight we're hosting winemaker Joe Swick, a 5th generation Oregonian dedicated to making wines that express the distinctiveness of Oregon and adjacent Washington. After working for some bigger wineries and their not-so-subtle use of chemicals, enzymes, and industrial flavor technology, Joe has taken a hands-off approach to his cellar work, making more and more wines without any sulfur. The two Pinot Noirs he'll pour tonight have no sulfur added but are not funky: they are some of the most delicate, elegant, Pinots to be found in the US. In addition, he'll be pouring his new Pet-Nat rose. This is one guy you don't want to miss out on!
SWICK 2016 ROSE OF PINOT NOIR PETILLANT NATUREL
SWICK 2015 PINOT NOIR 'KEN'S POM' CANCILLA VINEYARD
Columbia Gorge, Washington
SWICK 2015 PINOT NOIR 'HIBERNATION'