2020 Monte Rio Cellars 'Pinkette'
Region: Lodi < California
Grape: Gamay, Trousseau Noir, Trousseau Gris
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Gamay (Alpine Peaks), Trousseau Noir (Bearg Ranch), Trousseau Gris (Fannuchi), all vineyards organic; water is added to grape must and steeped for 2 days. Drained into steel barrels, unfermented Chardonnay juice added to assist fermentation (wild yeast ferment); bottled after 5 months in stainless steel, with unfermented juice to start 2nd fermentation in bottle; undisgorged, with zero added So2; zero-zero; 7% ABV
Winemakers: Patrick Cappiello and Pax Mahle
Founded by somm (of many fancy places, winner of numerous accolades) Patrick Cappiello and Pax Mahle (one of our favorite local winemakers), Monte Rio Cellars is a collaboration of these two wine talents to showcase the underdog grapes, winemaking styles, and growing sites across California’s North Coast. They're making what one might call "sommelier wines" - light, low ABV, crushable, the kind of thing you can drink late at night after your floor shift without ruining the next morning. We dig this style.
We've also been loving all of the Cali Piquettes that have popped up recently, in a rainbow of different colors and styles. Quick refresher: Piquette is an old-is-new-again style in which the leftover skins are rehydrated in spring water and pressed again, making a second, less concentrated wine with low alcohol and high refreshment value. This style has been made for eons, starting with ancient Romans and Greeks who made it for the farm workers, as a lunch beverage that wouldn't make them drunk (and less productive). Some Piquettes are bubbly, some are still, some taste like a light wine, some more like Kombucha. They're all over the place, but mostly all delicious.
Patrick's dark pink 'Pinkette' is slightly fizzy, reminiscent of a light Lambrusco but with more fruit (strawberry/rhubarb) and funk. This is one you'll want to drink the same day you pop it, as it isn't as great on day 2 - but at 7% ABV, crushing a bottle with a few friends in one sitting is easy peasy...