2020 Gearhead Purple Princess Pet’Nat
Region: Nevada County < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Fruit is from the Coufos Vineyard in Mendocino, farmed organically by Noel Diaz of Purity; fermented carbonically for 7 days then went to punch downs; pressed on the 15th day and then rested in tank before bottling, un-disgorged, with nothing added (zero-zero); 12% ABV; 70 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. Turns out his cellar mate Noel had a bumper crop of Syrah from the Coufos Vineyard, which he farms himself, organically, so Craig was stoked to get a bit of this pristine fruit to make a deep, inky red pet'nat for his wildly popular Princess pet'nat series.
Here, he was going for a Lambrusco vibe. And he gets pretty close with this Cali-Syrah meets Lambruco red fizz. Light and lifted, with crunchy black and red fruit, the tannins are softened by the carbonic action, and the bubbles seem to lift and amplify the bright fruit. And like any good Lambrusco, this wine has acid in spades, cutting through any fat like a pro. Pair with pizza, cheese, or anything fried.