2013 Old World Winery ‘Flow’ Syrah Mayacamas
Region: Sonoma < CA
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic farming; iron-rich volcanic soil; whole-cluster fruit is stomped then transferred to one ton insulated bins for outdoor fermentation then aged 2 years in French oak sur lie, then bottled unfined/unfiltered; 25ppm SO2; 150 cases
Winemaker: Derek Trowbridge
Derek 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 to stomp the grapes. He doesn’t use temperature controls in the cellar, and feels strongly that using only the native yeast from the vineyard is the best way to express the natural beauty in that wine. This is mountain Syrah from the Bellenger vineyard high up in Sonoma’s Fountaingrove District, a newly named area (circa 2015) within a zone of the Mayacamas Mountains where iron-rich clay soils contain immense amounts of volcanic rock within them, thanks to an eruption of Mt. St. Helena 3.4 million years ago. The vines are planted directly into this volcanic debris soil, giving the wine a mineral intensity and steely elegance. Sadly, this was also the epicenter of the raging Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County, in which this vineyard burned. Luckily the 2017 harvest was in, so he’s got the next 4 vintages in process, but that’s it. Reminiscent of a very young Cote Rotie, this bright ruby red screams northern Rhone. It has this crazy nose of really tart cherry, tastes of ripe plums, cassis, bacon and liquid rocks, and finishes with those meaty, chewy tannins of mountain Syrah.