2019 Gearhead 'Blue' Valdigiue, Lolonis Vineyard Redwood Valley
Region: Redwood Valley < Mendocino < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: CCOF-certified organic dry-farmed Lolonis Vineyard; 3-4 day cold soak of whole clusters before the ferment started, no treading CO2 or dry ice added; 17 days carbonic fermentation then pressed into flex tank; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no added So2; 46 cases; zero-zero; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Craig West
Our buddy Noel of Purity turned us on to his buddy, Craig West, who makes wine at Noel’s Richmond facility for his upstart natural wine label, Gearhead. Craig was a fisherman and a baker for Acme Bread, but when he met Noel and started helping him with production, he decided that this was his calling and pivoted to wine. Now he makes tiny lots of wine from organic farming, all foot tread, many with carbonic maceration, all sans sulfur, and all sporting creative label art drawn by Craig’s 10-year old daughter.
We've worked with several of Craig's wines before, including the popular Princess Pet'nat that was 50% Marsanne + 50% Valdiguié. Here, this same high-acid fruit is on center stage in a light, fresh glou glou bottling. Craig says: this fruit came in early in October and I made the run up to Mendo to get my 3 tons, which was so cold when it came in that it did a 3 to 4 day natural cold soak before the ferment started, no treading CO2 or dry ice added this one. It went 17 days carbo and in the end the the berries were splitting open and releasing all the juice."
This wine is juicy and tart, a bit crunchy, a bit spicy, a little Gamay-like, and most definitely in need of chilling. A fantastic spring red, with food or on its own. With friends (when social distancing is over) or on your own.