Our focus for this club has always been “what we’re drinking.” We get excited to share with you wines that we have been introduced to and geek out over. Sometimes the wines are super limited, and we set aside just enough for our members. It’s one thing we love about wine, its fleeting nature. You can love something but there is only so much created of that vintage and that blend. Once it is gone that’s it. But you know what’s exciting? There’s always more to discover, new vintages, new blends. The exploring never ends with wine and we love sharing our journey with you.
With wines and regions, invariably there are presumptions. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard blanketed statements like for example, “I only like big California wines” or “I don’t like domestic wines, I only like old World.” Our World is so international now, people have had the ability to travel and study all over. This education and discovery of different techniques and styles is leading winemakers to help rewrite the narrative of their own regions. In this months’ wine club, we’re showcasing wines out of California that will no doubt defy the preconceived notions of their region.
P. & E. Mullins
2019 Iconic “One Shot”
Napa Valley, CA
Silver linings. It’s something we have been trying to focus on during a challenging year. One Shot is one of those. A group of Napa Valleys’ top Sommeliers took advantage of large fruit crops and sourced fantastic fruit from up and down the valley. Commissioning winemaker Birk O’Halloran to create a Northern Italian Friuli style white blend that was designed to be an aperitif style by the glass pour at some of Napa’s’ most renown restaurants. Then the pandemic hit, restaurants closed and this wine and its bright future of being poured in the hip restaurant scene of Napa was no longer. Birk decided to bail out his Somm friends, take it on as his own Iconic label and share this “one-shot” with the World anyway. This wine is mostly made up of Tocai (Friulano), Sauvignon Blanc and 10% neutral oak fermented Chardonnay. In the glass it is a clean crisp white with a bit of viscosity. The nose has bright aromas of citrus, kiwi and orange. The palate has a nice weighted medium body, there is good structure and a crisp and clean finish. Only 450 cases produced.
Martha Stoumen Wines
Martha Stoumen’s background is like a dream. Not to be disillusioned with how much work it has all taken but embracing the opportunity of working with and learning from pioneers in the wine industry the world over. It’s like a life I wish I could live. I hope she writes a book someday. For her undergraduate she studied Italian and traditional agricultural systems, she then went on to Tuscany to work at Tenuta di Spannocchia an organic farm and learning center which had vineyards, an olive orchard and winery. She entered the wine making World with an eye on the vineyards instead of in the winery. At the young age of 22 she decided that this is what she wanted to make of her life’s’ work. She followed it with eight years of apprenticeships with winemakers around the World and while also obtaining her Masters in Enology from UC Davis. Flourishing under the tutelage of Reinhard Löwenstein (Heymann-Löwenstein, Mosel), Jordan Fiorentini (Chalk Hill, California) Chris Brockway (Broc Cellars, California), Clive Dougall (Seresin, Marlborough), Didier Barral (Léon Barral, Faugères, France), and Giusto Occhipinti (COS, Sicily). Many of these teachers have remained a part of her life as she has moved toward her own vision of making responsibly farmed, terroir-driven wines in the land that she holds so dear in her heart, California. Martha started her own label in 2014. Her wines are small in production, sustainable, fun, unique and balanced. We hope we can continue exploring her portfolio with you. We’re thrilled to introduce you to these two.
2019 Post Flirtation White Blend
This blend is of 33% Colombard, 26% Marsanne, 23% Roussanne, 18% Muscat blanc. The Roussanne, Marsanne, and Muscat blanc come from this very cool educational farm called First Generation Farmers in Contra Costa County which is practicing organic and working on their 3-year transition to certification. Colombard comes from Ricetti Vineyard in Mendocino County; planted in 1948; certified organic; dry farmed on loam. Both components of this blend are fermented and aged in stainless steel. This mineral driven wine has aromas of kiwi, white pepper and a little salinity. A beautifully light body. What we also love about this wine is it is only 9.5% alcohol, so have that second glass. There were only 921 cases produced so enjoy it now until the next vintage rolls around.
2019 Mendocino Benchlands
This blend of 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Zinfandel is a play on the classic Sicilian blends of Nero D’Avola and Frappato. I don’t think we’re alone in the assumption that before Martha Stoumen brought it to our attention, we didn’t know that there was Nero d’Avola growing in California. The name of this wine refers to the uplifted benchlands in Mendocino where all of the original Italian settlers planted vines (rather than the valley floor). All of the vineyards utilized for this blend are planted on those uplifted benchlands in Mendocino County. The Nero D’avola is sourced from 3 different vineyards ranging from young vines to about 33 years. The Zinfandel comes completely from Chiarito Vineyard in Ukiah. All the vineyards are sustainably farmed. In the glass this is a bright ruby color with violet hues the aromas are full and juicy with plums and black cherries. There are herbaceous notes of black tea, followed by a long pleasing finish. Only 759 cases produced.