2018 Two Shepherds Rosé
Region: Hopland < Mendocino < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; dry-farmed, 45-year old vineyards; lightly foot tread before whole cluster pressed; aged in 50% stainless steel, 50% neutral barrel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added SO2; 75 cases; 12% ABV
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 two-person (and many animal) 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. Like this rosé, which is picked early natural vibrancy and acidity, a few weeks before they pick for the old-vine Carignan, both from the Trimble vineyard in Mendocino. 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 rosé and the old-vine Carignan.
William’s rosé is a revelation. It is layered and complex, with tart red fruit and an almost kombucha-like grapefruit vibe that keeps it interesting and prevents the palate fatigue we often get from rosé. Fabulous in the typical rosé settings (porches, parks, solo cups, etc.) but this is a serious wine that also deserves a place on the dinner table.