2016 Idlewild ‘the bee, flora & fauna white’
Region: Lake and Mendocino Counties < California
Grapes: 54% Muscat Canelli (a.k.a Muscat Blanc, Moscato Bianco), 42% Arneis, and 5% Cortese
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, three vineyards: Lake County (volcanic soils), Potter Valley, Mendocino (high altitude), Fox Hill Vineyard, Mendocino (gravel and sandstone soil). Co-fermented, aged on lees in neutral barrel for 4 months.; 12.4% ABV
Winemaker: Sam Bilbro
The Bilbro family emigrated to the United States in 1900 from Italy and, like, many new European arrivals to California, they planted grapes. Eventually the family expanded beyond home winemaking to form Marietta Cellars, where Idlewild winemaker Sam Bilbro and his two older brothers grew up. Each left Sonoma County at the age of 18, and each returned within 10 years to join the family business. Now Jake, the oldest, runs Marietta. Scott, the middle brother, bought Limerick Lane in Healdsburg. And the baby started Idlewild. Marietta’s claim to fame is a big, fruity red blend, which isn’t Sam’s style – prefers lighter-bodied, higher-acid style wines, so with Idlewild he’s going for delicacy over density. Sam also believes firmly that the winemaking starts in the vineyard, and that high quality fruit means less manipulation in the cellar. “The flora and fauna…” series is Sam’s table wine, meant for every day, but it shows plenty of skill. This is a gorgeous, almost ethereal wine. Aromatic but not at all sweet, with a whisper of a honey, followed by bright, lemony acid, and layers of soft stone fruit. Like an innocent first kiss, it sort of tickles your tongue, and leaves you wanting more. Perfect as an aperitivo, on the dinner table, or with brunch.