2016 Two Shepherds Carignan Trimble Vineyard
Region: Hopland < Mendocino < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming, dry-farmed, 45-year old vineyards; lightly foot tread before whole cluster pressed to neutral French barrel for 9 months for aging on heavy lees, and racked twice prior to bottling, unfined/unfiltered with minimal SO2 added; 13% ABV; 175 cases
Winemaker: William Allen
William Allen slings software by day, but his heart is in the Rhône. He was making wine in his garage and blogging about it for years before going pro with Two Shepherds, his one-man micro-winery. He works from purchased grapes, careful about organic, and models his wines on the Rhône and other French styles he loves, making tiny lots of old world, low-intervention bottlings from cool climate sites. Owned by Richard Trimble, second generation grower, who was raised on the vineyard as a child, Trimble produces only 2 varieties, Carignan and Cabernet, both certified organic. Rick uses only natural protection for the vineyard, like ladybugs and essential oils. Two Shepherds leases 50% of this special 11 acres of old vine Carignan (a varietal William thinks is perfect for Cali climate), from which he makes this old-vine Carignan and also this month’s rosé. William picked this plot in October, at <22 brix, which is about as ripe as this very North Coast vineyard gets, despite the warm Mediterranean climate.
William is huge proponent of Carignan in California, and this wine is a great example of its potential in the NorCal climate. Elegant and aromatic, juicy and easy drinking, with soft structure from 100% whole cluster, supple tannins and pretty white pepper, purple flowers and red cherries in the glass. Drinks like a nicely structured Cru Beaujolais, especially with a slight chill.