2018 Tessier Gamay Noir Barsotti Vineyard, El Dorado County
Region: El Dorado County < CA
Grape: Gamay Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Uncertified organic farming; high altitude vineyard; decomposed granite soils; 100% whole cluster, lady foot stomped, then fermented and aged in neutral French oak; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 12.4% ABV; 102 cases made
Winemaker: Kristie Tacey
LADY IN CHARGE: The Tessier homepage, with a provocative image the 1965 film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and the Velvet Underground line, “Here she comes, you better watch your step,” tells you a lot about Kristie. She is fierce, and not afraid to flex her power, or her femininity. She’s also incredibly smart. I mean, really, smart -- as in “former microbiologist who worked on the Human Genome Project” smart. In 2006, she left the field of science for wine, but never lost the discipline, bringing that scientific precision and geekiness to her winemaking.
Kristie started her own project in 2009, working with a handful of family-farmed vineyards in NorCal, and at first, played it safe with more conventional California-style wines. But as she’s learned and grown more confident, she has moved over to the natty side. But first she is a scientist, so although the wines are made in a very low-intervention way, they are clean, precise and balanced. Like this Gamay that exudes the glorious smells of sticky macerated strawberry, clove and wet forest floor. Tart and crunchy, like red apple and plum skins, raspberry and cinnamon stick, it has the most delightful texture of burst pomegranate seeds and a racy acidity to round things out. A very serious and delicious mountain Gamay that drinks more like a Pinot than its Beaujolais brethren.