2020 Gearhead Princess Pet’Nat
Region: Contra Costa < California
Grapes: Pinot Gris
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: fermented carbonically for 14 days, no treading or adding of Co2; hand-disgorged and bottled under crown cap with nothing added (zero-zero); 12% ABV; 85 cases
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, and all sans added sulfur.
Craig is scrappy like most of the new natty crew in California, and searches high and low for organic fruit to purchase. For this wine, he found some pristine PG from a guy called Tom, who farms his small vineyard organically, in Contra Costa county. For the whimsical label art, he's keeping the cute princess drawing from his talented 10-year old daughter, who drove a hard bargain and charged dad $50 for the rights to her work.
We tasted this wine as it was being bottled, and fell in love with the exotic neon pink juice that tastes dry and tart, plummy with chai tea notes, yet somehow decadent and brunchy at the same time Last year, Craig only made 18 cases of this pet'nat, and it flew. This year he made a teensy bit more. But it still won't last. Get it now.