2018 Old World Winery Wild-Farmed Cabernet “Bloom”
Region: Sonoma > California
Grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Biodynamic + certified fish-friendly farming, hand harvested, foot trod, 5 day maceration, pressed to neutral barrel for fermentation and aging on lees for 12 months, blended and bottled, unfined/unfiltered, with 24 ppm added SO2, 10% ABV; 120 cases
Winemakers: Darek Trowbridge
Darek 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 directly farms or manages the farming for all the vineyards he works with and uses 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.
Darek first spotted the vines for Bloom while on a routine visit to his friend, Margot’s, ranch in the high rent Chalk Hill area (where the fancy grapes live). She inherited the land and now manages it with her daughters- Darek has too many other vines that need his attention to be able to help her farm her large piece of property but occasionally offers assistance if he can. On this particular visit he noticed part of the ranch that was ‘decrepit’ as he puts it, and asked if he could have a look. Turns out it was a vineyard full of unfarmed Cabernet Sauvignon. Not exactly a winemaker’s dream, but Darek had worked with fruit from ‘wild’ vines before and knew he could make something delicious. Because it hadn’t been pruned, the vines had around 350 – 400 clusters of fruit vs. the usual 80 – 120. However, the berries were super tiny so even though the yield was slightly higher than it would have been, the higher skin to juice ratio means the wine quality did not suffer and some might say it improved.
Darek is all about tertiary flavors- many of you might remember his Pinot Noir, Syrah and Abundance (a blend) from previous selections, all of which are released at least 5 years after the harvest. Bloom is a baby in comparison – just 10% alcohol, built for chilling. And, due to the fermentation and barrel aging, it still had a chance to develop those tertiary flavors he desires. He wants you to be able to drink this everyday but still have something interesting in your glass. YES PLEASE! Sonoma Cab of this pedigree that is light, pretty and chillable (and only 10% ABV) is unheard of -- and destined to be Rock Juice favorite.