2017 Old World Winery Trowbridge Sparkling Cider
Region: Russian River Valley < Sonoma < California
Grapes: APPLES: Johnathan, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Winesap, King + a little pear and quince
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming, dry-farmed; 80 year-old orchard; made in the Col Fondo style with wild fermentation in barrel for 10 months, then fresh juice from the next vintage is added to start the 2nd bottle fermentation; bottled right after refermentation under crown cap then spends a year in bottle; un-disgorged, with zero added SO2; 12% ABV; 100 cases
Winemaker: Darek Trowbridge
Cider, Pet'Nat-style, from Darek Trowbridge, one of the OG Cali natural winemakers! Darek has been making low-intervention wine in Sonoma for 20 years, way before it was a thing. In fact, he named his winery ‘Old World’, because he’s all about a return to the old-world methods of his grandfather Lino Martinelli (of Martinelli wine/cider fame), who started making wine in the early 1900s, with no technology or chemicals. Derek adds nothing to the wine except a minimal amount of protective sulfur before bottling. He has no press, just his feet (and the feet of his friends who respond to his cattle call for help) to stomp the grapes. He uses no temperature control or additives of any kind, including sulfur.
This is a blend of many apple varieties that Darek makes into a lightly sparkling, Kombucha-esque cider. Darek explains this fun elixir: "The orchard is 80 years old and a mixed field blend of apple trees and some quince. It has been in my friend's, Ben Hurst's, family for a long time and he spent much of his youth riding his off road motorcycle around the trees, through the neighbors property and to town to get grocery items for his family of 12 sisters and brothers. You could say the trees were a respite for the family as well as an income source. The style is Col Fondo, taught to me by the late Ernest Cattel of Costadilla. The juice is handled exactly like I would a Chardonnay, pressed to barrel then barrel fermented sur lie for 12 months. At the next harvest we get juice from the same block and blend and bottle. The secondary fermentation occurs in bottle over at least 6 months, better a year, and is never the same thing twice. This method is the most demonstrative of vintage variation because we can never do it exactly as before and we are always adding a bit of the next vintage juice. By putting fresh juice in we capture that fresh taste while also leaving space for the elevage of 12 months in barrel to provide the complexity that makes cider more interesting."
In our opinion, Darek is one of California’s top winemakers – and perhaps the best kept secret in the state. And he's a passionate pioneer in the realm of biodynamic and regenerative farming. He embodies everything we love to support at Rock Juice -- and his juice is damn good. Win.