March 2022 | Terroir Wine Clubby Caileen Brison
Darling 2020 Mariah Vineyard Pinot Noir
Known as "an island in the sky" perched on top of 2,400 ft Mendocino Ridge is this one-of-a-kind Certified Regenerative Pinot Noir vineyard. We are beyond grateful to have access to this fruit, which is meticulously farmed by the hands of the Dooling family. Dan Dooling, his wife, daughter, and son-in-law are breaking barriers when it comes to environmentally friendly farming and we mimic such practices as best we can in the winery. This Pinot Noir offers floral aromas accompanied by fresh cherries and forest floor due to the surrounding redwood forests and six-mile proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
Ingredients: Regenerative organic Pinot Noir grapes (Clones 115 and Pommard), minimum-effective sulphur
Single vineyard Pinot Noir bottlings seem to be a dime a dozen (…too harsh?), but occasionally a wine comes along that challenges your perception of single vineyard California Pinot. This expression of Pinot evolves so frequently in the glass that I hesitate to place any one class of descriptors to the wine. When you open the wine there is an initial lift from floral and herbal tones, but it’s obvious that the wine would benefit with a little air. After a small intermission, the wine opens to green mint candies and herbal notes like thyme oil and eucalyptus bark. On the palate there is a bracing expression of structure with a prevalent sourdough crust minerality with an integrated but fine grip, which is not surprising given the 100% whole cluster and early pick winemaking decisions here. On day two the wine becomes deeper in tone from a fruit quality perspective, but the overall integrity of the wine is unchanged. On the finish emerges a nice espresso and tobacco wrapper warmth and overall (right now) I prefer the wine with some time open in bottle. Drink 2023 – 2033, serve with large bowl stemware.
Food pairings: rabbit rillette, roast, or souffle.
Luis Rodriguez 2015 A Treixa
From Jose Pastor
As a passionate son of Ribeiro, Luis Rodriguez is one of the most knowledgeable winegrowers that we have come in touch with in Galicia. He studied enology and philosophy in Madrid, took the time to visit many of Europe’s great wine regions, and even served as the president of the Ribeiro D.O. for many years. Over time, Luis has accumulated just under 6 hectares scattered over nearly 180 micro-plots primarily located in the town of Arnoia, a village with some of the steepest south-facing vineyards in Ribeiro. Here the soils are decomposed granite with sandy topsoil. Luis’s vines range from 10 to 50 years old, with many of them being planted by Luis himself. Having grown up in the village of Arnoia and by focusing his work there, Luis knows where the good vineyards are located. He has been steadily converting these plots from the bulk wine grapes Palomino and Garnacha Tintorera (Alicante Bouchet) to the native Treixadura, Lado, and Ferrol, to just name a few. His philosophy in the vineyard is to maintain balance. His approach to farming can be described as lutte raisonée, with no herbicides used ever, and treatments applied only if absolutely necessary, and never for a month before the harvest to help preserve the native yeasts existent on the grapes that help start fermentation.
I’ve been a fan of Luis since I first tasted his whites several moons ago now – he manages to capture the sun of Spain with a nod to old school classic winemaking. In the glass this wine is deep golden in color with notes of honeycomb cereal milk, lemon oil, saffron, and fresh honey. The palate upfront is juicy and transitions to moderate acid with a linger of lees and shortbread - overall, the wine is soft and coating. Due to Luis’ winemaking practices and the age of the wine, I do think this wine is best consumed within 8 hours of opening and should be served chilled in all-purpose stemware.
Food pairings: grilled corn, prawns, Marcona almonds.
Remelluri 2014 Reserva Rioja
From Estate Wines, Ltd
The estate’s origins date back to the tenth century when Count Erramel, a Basque warrior and aristocrat from Álava, founded a small village on the site (uri in Basque); hence the name Erramel Uri evolved to Remelluri. The first wines were made here in the fourteenth century when Hieronymite monks tended the monastery atop nearby Sierra de Toloño mountains and founded a sanctuary and farm on the site. The earliest written evidence of wine production dates from the Laguardia village tax records from 1596, noting Remelluri’s contribution. The monks later abandoned the area, but local hermits continued to maintain the shrine while the Real Divisa, a local community organization, maintained the farms to accommodate the needs of pilgrims who came to pray at the sanctuary. The estate was eventually split up and sold in the nineteenth century, as were many properties throughout Spain belonging to religious orders.
Organic farming principles have always been utilized here to ensure that the wine remains true to its unique terruño. As such, chemicals have never been used at the property, and the entire production has been certified organic since the 2014 vintage. Remelluri also uses an integrated system of agriculture with great respect for the environment. Hedges and plantations are maintained and nurtured, and trees are planted to complement the vineyards, such as almond, peach, fig, and olive trees, as well as a rich and productive native bee colony (the wax from which they use to seal the coveted Remelluri Blanco). The Remelluri property contains many old head-pruned vines, which they use as inspiration for all of their vineyards. Vine training has been restored to traditional head-pruning techniques, and vine row spacing is traditional, suited to hand-harvesting. The history of vines in this region of Alavesa lies in these traditional methods.
Remelluri Reserva is the flagship red wine of the property, exclusively focused on conveying the essence of Remelluri, the place. Made from organically farmed grapes grown exclusively throughout the property, Remelluri is always a blend of traditional Rioja varieties, produced with minimal impact and low intervention. True to its origins, Remelluri Reserva is a wine of place and vintage, offering a snapshot of the conditions each year brings for high-altitude, mountain viticulture in Rioja. As such, vintages of Remelluri will age gracefully and improve for decades to come, repaying those with patience many times over.
This expression of Rioja terroir from Remelluri is one of the most recognizable expressions of Rioja that I can recall. In the glass, the wine has opulent and generous aromas of leather, iron, dill, toasted coconut, and an almost hoisin like savory quality. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and large wood (foudre) before being barrel aged for several years, and was finished with an additional five years in bottle. To say this wine will only continue to get better with time is astounding and accurate. The structure has elevated acid and integrated tannic structure, lending to the longevity of the wine. With continued time in the glass, we start to sense cardamom like lifted spices alongside quince and currant like fruits despite the depth of the wine. Drink now – 2040, serve in all-purpose stemware.
Food pairings: Beef stew, grilled steaks, chile.