2008 Old World Winery Pinot Noir
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming, dry-farmed vineyards planted on the high plains of Santa Rosa where the Huichica loam runs deep but the vine roots go deeper into the sandy clay below;20% whole cluster, macerated for 2 weeks, pressed to neutral barrels and aged sure lie for two years, then aged in bottle for 11 years; bottled unfined/unfiltered with zero added SO2; 12.9% ABV; 180 cases
Winemaker: Darek Trowbridge
Darek is one of the OG Cali natural winemakers, having made 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. We’ll let Darek tell the story of this crazy Pinot: “It’s from a vineyard I farmed the Biodynamically. The wine was stomped with 20% whole cluster, macerated for 2 weeks, pressed to neutral barrels and aged sure lie for two years. At bottling there was an Oenoccocus infection, which is a spoilage bacteria. I could have sterile filtered or hit it with chemicals, but instead I chose to ride it out like a Brettanomyces beer situation. It took 3-5 years for the in-bottle fermentation to complete then a couple years for the flavors to marry. Now in its 9th year of bottle age!” Darek’s decision to let the wine run its course instead of trying to salvage the rogue fermentation with a bunch of chemicals was risky, but we’re so glad he did – and that we get to experience this crazy, delicious wine, which is unlike any Pinot we’ve ever had. It tastes like sour cherry, warm baking spice and the tart, yellow innards of summer plums. You could call it funky, but not in any mousy, Brett-y, unpleasant sort of way. It’s just wild and authentic, proudly wearing the scars of its 8-year journey, which makes us love it even more.
In our opinion, Darek is one of California’s top winemakers – and perhaps the best kept secret in the state. He’s also one of the nicest people we know. For a biodynamic Cali Pinot of this pedigree and quality with 11 years of bottle age to be priced under $30 is insane. It’s a little pricier than we usually do in the mixed case selections, but this is such a special bottle we wanted you all to have a chance to try it. Because small guys like Darek need exposure and your support to keep doing what they do. Fall in love, reorder, win-win!