2016 Licorne Mechante "Le Cri Du Loup" Carignane
Region: Languedoc < France
Grapes: 80% Cinsault, 20% Syrah
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; alluvial, schist + slate soils, 70 year-old vines; 12 months on skins and stems in tank, then another 12 months in neutral barrels; bottled with zero-added So2 and aged for another 13 months in bottle before release; 50 cases; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig
Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig are one of the OG natty California winemaking duo, making Les Lunes and Populis wines for nearly a decade. They farm and manage over 8 acres of vineyards in Napa and Sonoma themselves, in order to ensure 100% organic, zero-input fruit. And their production facility is literally the basement of Shaunt’s parents’ house in Orinda, just east of Berkeley, which allows them to produce wine without the interference of other wineries’ yeasts or influences.
This tiny-production wine was an experiment for them. They say, “The idea of the Licorne Mechante (the wicked unicorn) is to have an outlet for our (Les Lunes) wilder and more experimental wines. In 2016 we decided to play with long macerations. Cri du Loup (pronounced cree dew loo) translates from French to 'Cry of the Wolf.' Our idea is that there is a wild, almost Werewolf type, animal howling at the full moon as a nod to our Les Lunes Carignanes. With this wine we let one tank of Venturi old-vine Carignane macerate for 12 months on skins and stems. The resulting wine was surprisingly light and fresh. With another year in barrel it calmed down further and became super mineral and wild, with a nice bass-tone of fruit throughout. We bottled with zero additions and aged for another 12 months in bottle before releasing.”
We are OBSESSED with this wine! No glou glou here, it is grippy and spicy with tart but generous black fruit riding on a firm backbone of acidity. There’s not a ton of meat on the bones, but the bones are good. And the finish is strong, with orange peel and sour cherry notes that linger long after the mysterious unicorn has fled. EXTREMELY LIMITED INVENTORY.