2021 Accenti Vinello Piquette
Region: Contra Costa County < CA
Grape: MerlotVineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; old, dry-farmed vines on sandy, clay soils; second pressing of Merlot skins with spring water; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 7.1% ABV; 25 cases
Winemakers: James Allen & Lorenza
Accenti, formerly known as Thereafter, is the passion project of a lovely young couple, James and Lorenza, who both work day jobs for other wineries but with Accenti are focused on regenerative viticulture and super low intervention winemaking. Their philosophy is that the land, vines, and wine will exist far longer than we can imagine. They say, "With this in mind, being good stewards of the vineyards and the ecosystems within them is our top priority. Everything else falls into place more easily afterwards."
Accenti means "accents" in Italian (Lorenza is a Piedmont, Italy native), and they like to think of their wines as California with an Italian accent -- meaning subtle, low ABV, food-friendly wines, which we love. This restraint, along their focus on next-level farming, are unusual things for the Napa/Sonoma regions where they work and source grapes. Vinello, the Italian word for piquette, is what they call a "California natural wine spritzer". Here's what Lorenza and James told us about the inspiration: "Our quest for a chill-able fizzy red started after harvest, when all our grapes were already fermenting. During a hot day of pressing, we looked at each other with deadly thirst. We needed a crushable wine immediately!"
They may call this pretty magenta bottle a wine cooler, but it is world's away from that sweet, sticky Bartles & James that we cut our teeth on. Made in the piquette style, with organic Merlot skins getting a second press with spring water, this is a super refreshing, low alcohol beverage that tastes like wine, just lighter. Barely fizzy, with tannins and spice, it tastes like a tart cranberry tea with some blood orange, and goes down like water. We'll be crushing this one all summer long.