2020 Gearhead 'Acid Queen'
Region: Lacy Vineyard < Fairfield < California
Grapes: Colombard (92%), Carignan (8%)
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; each varietal fermented separately, carbonically, no treading or adding of Co2, for 14 days then blended and bottled, unfined/unfiltered, with nothing added (zero-zero); 12.4% ABV; 44 cases
Winemaker: Craig West
Our buddy Noel of Purity turned us on to his buddy, Craig West, who makes wine at Noel’s Richmond facility for his upstart natural wine label, Gearhead. Craig was a fisherman and a baker for Acme Bread, but when he met Noel and started helping him with production, he decided that this was his calling and pivoted to wine. Now he makes tiny lots of wine from organic farming, all foot tread, many with carbonic maceration, and all sans sulfur.
Craig is scrappy like most of the new natty crew in California, and because he doesn't own any vineyards, searches high and low for organic fruit to purchase. But he always finds the good stuff. Like this organic Colombard, blended with a touch of old-vine Carignan, for the electric pink wine here that he cheekily named "Acid Queen". Here's what he says about her: "Acid Queen was done carbonic for 14 days. We pressed both the Sticky Old-Vine Carignan and Colombard on the same day. Our friend Tyler (another winemaker at the Richmand Co-op) has some OCD going on, and was geeking out on the juice, pulling glasses and blending them. We all tasted one of his blending experiments that was like Hawaiian punch on Acid, and thus Acid Queen was crowned!"