2021 Gearhead 'Greatful' Viognier
Region: San Benito < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; 10 days Carbo pressed into neutral oak barrels to finish, the bottled unfined/unfiltered with nothing added (zero-zero); 12.2% ABV; 110 cases
Winemaker: Craig West
Our buddy Noel of Purity turned us on to his buddy, Craig West, who makes wine at Noel’s Richmond facility for his upstart natural wine label, Gearhead. Craig was a fisherman and a baker for Acme Bread, but when he met Noel and started helping him with production, he decided that this was his calling and pivoted to wine. Now he makes tiny lots of wine from organic farming, all foot tread, many with carbonic maceration, and all sans added sulfur.
Craig is scrappy like most of the new natty crew in California, and searches high and low for organic fruit to purchase. Like this stunning Viognier from the Siletto Family Vineyards San Benito, CA -- which sports the grooviest label of dancing bears (yes, Craig is a diehard Dead Head). Grateful Dead fans rejoice!
Here's what Craig has to say about this wine: "The Viognier went 10 days Carbo then we pressed into neutral oak barrels. I checked in with the juice in late November and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was tasting, so we bottled one barrel. The fruit comes from the Siletto Family Vineyard, a new one I started working with this year, and I love the owner, John Siletto." And wow, we are so GREATFUL that Craig made this gorgeous wine! The texture is silky and decadent, the fruit voluptuous but taut, all glimmery, golden apple and pear with a touch of honeysuckle, the acid bright but not searing.
SERVING NOTES: Chill lightly but not to THE normal white wine temp as excessive cold mutes the fruit. 20-30 minutes in the fridge is perfect.