2020 Gearhead 'Perspective' Orange
Region: Love Ranch Vineyard < Madera < California (Counoise)
Lolonis Vineyard < Mendocino < California (Chardonnay)
Grapes: Counoise, Chardonnay
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Counoise from Love Ranch: CCOF-certified organic farming, dry-farmed vineyards on thin soils of granitic schist; Chardonnay from CCOF-certified organic, dry-farmed Lolonis Vineyard in Mendocino; co-fermented carbonically, no treading or adding of Co2; 14 days of skin contact before fermentation process, bottled unfined/unfiltered with nothing added (zero-zero); 12% ABV; 23 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 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 struck gold with CCOF-certified organic Counoise from the Love Ranch Vineyard not far from Yosemite, and Chardonnay from CCOF-certified Lolonis Vineyard in Mendocino. Craig explains how this wine came about: "The Chardonnay came in at 25 brix (high for bubbles), so I got lucky that the CCOF-certified Love Ranch contacted me as the Creek fire was starting and they were seeing smoke in the Vineyard. They were going to let their stuff hang but I made the call to have the Counoise picked right away at 17 brix (low) and decided to co-ferment them and knock the alcohol down on the Chard for bubbles. The Counoise came in more of a white grape then red as it was picked early - 14 days of skin contact all whole cluster."
If you loved Craig's Princess CC Pet'nat, you'll love this wine, which is basically a still version of his wildly popular orange bubbles. Textural and aromatic, with tropical fruit, grapefruit and citrus. Like the bubbly version, there's something sort of nostalgic about it, like Tang mixed with Kern's peach nectar, with Sour Patch Kids floater.