2020 Two Shepherds 'Wiley' Carbonic Carignan Trimble Vineyard
Region: Dunnigan Hills <Yolo County < California
Grapes: Cinsault (75%), Carignan (25%)
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; 75 year-old vines on
gravelly alluvial soils; destemmed; true carbonic fermentation, sealed
in tank for 2.5 weeks, then pressed back to stainless to finish
fermenting and aged 4 months; 250 cases; 12.4% ABV
Winemaker: William Allen & Karen Daenen
NEW VINTAGE ALERT!
William Allen and Karen Daenen are the Two Shepherds. He's a software salesman by day, and she runs consumer research for Jackson Family Wines. But their heart is on the farm, and in the Rhône, two loves they combine with their 2-human, 3 donkey and 4-goat farm and micro-winery outside of Healdsburg, CA. They have one small estate vineyard but mostly work with purchased grapes, insisting on organic, and model their wines on the Rhône and other natty French styles they love, making tiny lots of old world, low-intervention bottlings from cool climate sites. While they work together to make the wine, Karen considers herself Chief Shepherdess, a title she rightly owns after birthing the farm's new mini donkey, Luna. And these guys love their animals, naming each cuveé after one of the furry crew. Wiley, for whom this wine is named, is a tiny kitten the pair acquired from a friend and fellow winemaker. Wiley is apparently a fiery, boisterous little guy whose personality seemed to match that of this wine that is literally bubbling with energy.
For the wine nerds among us, William explains how he makes the Wiley Carignan: "In a true carbonic maceration, the initial fermentation is not caused by yeast, but instead occurs intracellularly, or from the inside out. It’s critical all oxygen is removed, the vessel stays sealed, and as little juice and intact berries as possible. To achieve this the grapes are put into a stainless tank intact, gassed, sealed and left, untouched for 2.5 weeks. Afterwards the grapes are bucketed out, pressed gently off the skins, then back into stainless to finish native primary and secondary fermentation, staying there for 4 months. The wine is racked twice for bottling, with NO dditions other than a small amount of SO2."
The result of the carbo treatment is an intense purple color, fruity aromatics and a palate of intense fruit without the tannins. Which makes this a perfect wine for hot summer days, with a chill of course. Bright and gulpable, with juicy red plum and blackberry, this wine has palpable energy in the form of buzzy acidy and a barely perceptible tongue-tingling fizz. There's enough structure here to pair with BBQ
fare, but Wiley is also delightful on its own.
SERVE LIGHTLY CHILLED