2017 Southold Farm & Cellar Mataro/Dolcetto blend, Basics of Life, Texas High Plains
Region: Hill Country < Texas
Grapes: Mataro, Dolcetto
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming;vineyards on iron rich sandy loam soils 3000 foot elevation; 100% Whole Cluster fermentation; aged in concrete tanks; bottled without fining or filtering with <20ppm So2; 12.7% ABV
Winemaker: Carey Meador
Southold Farm + Cellar is a winery and vineyard that started on the North Fork of Long Island and after a long and arduous battle with local officials over expansion plans, now exists in Gillespie County, Texas. The new property consists of 62 acres, 30 acres of which are fairly steep limestone hillsides. Southold’s move from New York to Texas means the climates and varieties have changed, but his stylistic approach and cellar practices have not from the New York days. Here, Texas-native Meador is helping to take the state's wine industry to the next level with his low-intervention approach and focus on freshness and acidity. In Texas, that means harvesting way earlier than most producers do. He also differs from his Texas brethren by using native yeasts for fermentation and ageing in vessels that don’t impart flavor (stainless steel, concrete, or neutral oak) to let the fruit express its own natural character. He says his first goal is to make delicious wine. “But I want to be transparent about my process and do as little as possible, to let the vineyard make the wine. Wine, at its pinnacle, is something that should capture a time and place. So, for me to get in the way of that by pushing ripeness, acidifying, adding water, and further manipulating the wine . . . only obscures it.” Amen to that!
This is an intensely grapey wine, but not gloopy or heavy. It tastes like sour plum preserves, dried cherry, and crunchy cranberry with a pleasant bitter undertone (walnuts!) It reminds me of a wine from Georgia (the country), with those rustic, herbal, savory notes and absence of acid. Drink slightly chilled with saucy BBQ fare. Go Texas wine!