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2019 Brick & Mortar Nouveau

2019 Brick & Mortar Nouveau

Region: Sonoma Coast AVA < Sonoma < California

Grapes: Syrah, Pinot Noir

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; decomposed sandstone and shale soils; produced in the typical Beaujolais Nouveau method: 10-day carbonic maceration. All fruit is loaded into a tank saturated in CO2 and closed air tight once filled, allowing the fruit to gently warm by way of the heat evolved during the fermentation causing the fruit to ferment intercellularly.  with Chard and Pinot picked on the same day and pressed together, settled via gravity, then co-fermented in neutral barrels; bottled unfined/unfiltered with no additives; zero-zero; 12.5% ABV; 135 cases

Winemaker: Matt + Alexis Iaconis

We’ve been searching long and hard for a Napa winery that checks all of the Rock Juice boxes. Here it is: Brick & Mortar, a tiny project started in 2011 by a young couple, Matt and Alexis Iaconis. Matt, a native Californian, went to UC Davis to play football and study Atmospheric Science (he wanted to be an astronaut).  But an intro course on winemaking changed everything for him. After college, he worked at wineries here and abroad, eventually working with the Antinori family in Napa Valley – a connection that enabled him to get the organic fruit he needed to make his own wine.  The organically farmed fruit here comes from the  West Block in Petaluma Gap and Home Block in Carneros, both cool growing sites close to the San Pablo Bay.  Grapes are blanketed with cold wet fog until early afternoon, allowing sufficient hang time for phenolic ripeness while maintaining freshness and acidity. 

We aren't usually big fans of the Beaujolais Nouveau that makes its way here in early November, mostly because it's simple and gimmicky, meant for mass consumption, and generally far from natural.  So this inky, purple wine was a revelation - it has the lift and buoyancy of a carbonic wine, but the fruit is deep and complex.  The Syrah brings the darker flavors of black plum, pepper, violets and juniper, which mesh beautifully with the crunchy, fresh red fruit of the Pinot -- all of which are lifted and magnified by the carbo treatment, revealing each grape's best self.  Chillable, crushable and complex all at once, this might be the most perfect red to welcome sweater season.  We've said this before, but Brick & Mortar has changed our minds about Napa wineries, proving that the region can produce clean wines with elegance and restraint, at an affordable price point.  Bravo Alexis and Matt!


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