2019 Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris
Region: Russian River Valley < Sonoma < California
Grapes: Trousseau Gris
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Dry-farmed, organic farming (practicing); grapes are partially de-stemmed and left 5 days on the skins in a small open top container to start fermentation with native yeast, then pressed to neutral (old) barrels to finish fermentation and age for 7 months; left on heavy lees for 5 months; bottled unfined/unfiltered with 25ppm added SO2; 12.3% ABV; 175 cases made
Winemaker: William Allen + Karen Daenen
NEW VINTAGE ALERT! William Allen and Karen Daenen are the Two Shepherds. He's a software salesman by day, and she runs consumer research for Jackson Family
Wines. He was making wine in his garage and blogging about it for years before going pro with Two Shepherds, his three-human, 3 donkey, 2 goat, 2 cat, 2 dog & 4 chicken micro-winery. He works with 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. While they work together to make the wine, Karen considers herself Chief Shepherdess, a title she rightly owns after birthing the farm's new mini donkey, Luna. And these guys love their animals, naming each cuveé after one of the furry crew.
This skin-contact wine is always one of our favorites. It's made of Trousseau Gris, one of the world’s most obscure varieties -- there is just a single planting in CA, the Fanucchi Vineyard in the foggy Russian River Valley of Sonoma. A light pinkish-gray skinned grape originally from the Jura region in France, where the grape is now essentially extinct, making the 10 acres in Sonoma the only source. The 5 days on the skins imparts a beautiful rose gold color that makes you think rosé, but this is most definitely a white, with texture and body.
A Unicorn wine for sure, one that transports you to the glorious days of teen summer, before you were a responsible adult (sigh). Like rolling down the windows and feeling the fresh wind in your face. It's breezy, like Yacht Rock playing on the radio of your mom’s Cadillac Eldorado. It's like biting into a fresh peach and licking the juice as it drips on your salty hands. It’s super delicious. Grab some before she disappears, like all unicorns inevitably do.