2018 Haarmeyer Nebbiolo
Region: Clarksburg< California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming, volcanic pink granite and quartz soils; dry-farmed, foot trodden then whole-cluster pressed in an old-school screw press; fermented in an old puncheon on the lees, no stirring; rests here for 55 weeks before bottling; unfined/unfiltered with minimal SO2; 54 cases; 11.8% ABV
Winemaker: Craig Haarmeyer
Craig Haarmeyer has no formal wine education or training, but we think he’s making some of the most interesting and honest wines in California. His parents had restaurants and a wine shop, so he grew around the biz, and started fermenting anything and everything in college. That evolved into helping out at a family friends' winery in grad school, then realizing he could make wine himself. He also slid slowly into natural winemaking, he says, “because I made the modern wines for years and realized that those wines don't hold up, don't interest me, don't taste, smell or feel like the wines I grew up on. All of the wines I like to drink and admire are made with little or no ‘winemaking’. Plus, for me it is important to achieve an aesthetic of natural beauty in everything I make, including wine.” He makes tiny lots (as in one barrel of each) of 6 or 7 different wines each vintage, mostly Chenin, but plays with a few oddball grapes like this Nebbiolo. While nobody would call Italian Nebbiolo light or fresh, in Craig’s hands it is. Almost translucent, with ethereal dusty rose and white pepper notes and barely -here tannins, this wine is elegant and splurge-worthy. Linger over it at the end of a boozy dinner party.