2020 Gearhead 'Sticky' Carignan
Region: Love Ranch Vineyard < Madera < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: CCOF-certified organic farming, old vine (105 years) dry-farmed vineyards on thin soils of granitic schist; fermented carbonically, no treading or adding of Co2; 12 day fermentation process before bottling, unfined/unfiltered with nothing added (zero-zero); 13% ABV; 65 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 scored seriously old (105+ years) vine Carignan from the CCOF-certified Love Ranch Vineyard not far from Yosemite, which was established in 1994 by Diana and Steve Love and planted to Rhone varieties. The fruit is actually from a small 4-acre vineyard named Aspesi that Love Ranch Vineyard picked up last year.
Juicy and bright, with soft tannins, spicy, crunchy red fruit and a hint of soulful earthiness, this is the bottle you want to sip around a campfire, watching the stars. A quintessential Cali summer red, lovely with a slight chill. Craig crushes it again! But he only made 65 cases total, so as always, there isn’t much to go around.