Bedrock fall 2020 release Tues. July, 21

Email today - my poor cc.

We wanted to send a quick note to let you know the Bedrock Fall 2020 Release will be taking place the morning of Tuesday, July 21st.

This release will include several wines from the fantastic 2019 vintage along with a few final 2018 beauties. Wines to be included on this diverse release will include the newest iterations of Compagni Portis and Wirz Riesling along with a pantheon of powerhouse 2019 reds— from the staples of Bedrock, Evangelho and Dolinsek to Old Hill Ranch Heritage Wine and Bien Nacido X Block Syrah. Plus, a few fun new goodies— a 2018 Syrah we’re calling Calico Syrah and a Zinfandel from a new Lodi vineyard for us, Noma.

If you have not ordered wine from us in the past, you will receive a first-come, first-serve offer on Wednesday, July 29th.

If you have any questions, please let us know.


Morgan and Chris

MTP’s comment on this release from over in the “What Bedrock are you drinking” thread, just to get everything on this release in one place:

Bedrock is already the most represented producer in my cellar, so going to try to be a bit more selective in my ordering…but easy to order a lot of volume with the OVZ, Bedrock and Evangelho Heritage wines alone (before Old Hill, Bien Nacido, etc. etc. etc.)

The timing of this one is always tough coming right on the heels of Rivers-Marie and Carlisle. Plus it’s actually gotten fairly easy to source OVZ and Bedrock Heritage at list+shipping prices at retail where I am, so I’m trying to keep this to just a few bottles this time, with the intention of loading up more in November and February.

I’m going to need to exercise a little restraint on this one. Unfortunately, need and ability may not intersect.

Keeping to 1 case will be my goal, and based on my go-to wines with Bedrock I think I can do that this release. Allocating my funds recently for 2019 German riesling.

As promised, here are the wine release notes. Still working on the newsletter.

2019 Old Vine Zinfandel, California

It is hard to say that anything has benefited from the COVID situation, but perhaps one thing is the 2019 Old Vine Zinfandel. We already tend to pack some pretty great vineyard sources into this bottling, but our bearish approach to the 2019 vintage means that a lot of juice that normally would have gone into our vineyard-designated wines has trickled down into this offering. The fulcrum of this wine is based around our estate vineyards, with much of it coming from Bedrock (planted in 1888), Nervo (1896), and Sodini (1905) in Sonoma County along with Evangelho (1890s) and Katushas’ (1915), with the remainder coming from Teldeschi, Pagani, Old Hill, and Enz Vineyard. If anything, I am a bit concerned this might be too serious for the price point, but I suppose there are better things to lose sleep over. Raised in a wide variety of French and Austrian barrels, puncheons, and foudres (about 10% new) and only racked at bottling, this wine has a dark core of perfumed, dense fruit. This is a classic California Zinfandel and will go down as one of the best Old Vine bottlings we have made.

2019 Bedrock Heritage Wine, Sonoma Valley

Over the past few years, we have taken over more and more of the old vines at Bedrock that were previously contracted to other wineries. This has given us more flexibility in assembling the blends and, frankly, has allowed us to better understand our own vineyard—from the subtle shadings imparted by the contours of soil to the different varietal blends in each block. We have learned that Blocks 39 and 42, long the backbone of the wine, provide elegance and substantial structure while the shatter-prone Blocks 27 and 29, a mere 50 yards away, are darker and opulent with an almost licorice-tinged spiciness. The tiny Block 41, with only 390 vines, showcases the white pepper and flowers you might expect from an extremely varietally mixed block laced with a large amount of Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Tempranillo. All of this means that we feel the Bedrock Heritage wine has ticked up a couple notches in the last few years and more and more truly represents all of the old vines at the vineyard. Though 2019 was generally a slightly less structured year, the natural weight and density of Bedrock continues to shine through along with the hallmark citrus-tinged perfume typical of the site. Fermented in open-top tanks that saw regular pumpovers. the wine was raised in a wide variety of larger and smaller format French oak barrels that ranged in size from 228 to 600 liters. This is always one of the best wines we make and the 2019 is no exception.

2019 Evangelho Heritage Wine, Contra Costa County

2019 was a great year at our little empire of sand in the counter coast. Well-balanced crops on these 1890s planted, own-rooted vines lead to even ripening and a slightly later than normal harvest in this typically early area. What this means is full phenolic maturity at lower than normal sugars, with Carignan and Mataro being picked as low as 22.5 brix and turning black with color in the fermenter. As always, the 2019 is a blend of the three dominant field-blended varieties at the vineyard—Zinfandel, Mataro and Carignan—though it also contains bits and bobs of Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Mission, Palomino and even a single, ancient Clairette Blanche vine (definitely had to go to the DNA to ID that one!). Mataro is particularly expressive this year, and its brawny yet brainy presence makes itself felt behind the always lusciously luculent Zinfandel and Carignan. One of the best wines of the year.

2019 Old Hill Ranch, Sonoma Valley

Though just Bedrock’s second vintage working with this storied site, my personal relationship with this ranch goes back to the early 80s when I was just a toddler. Long considered the greatest vineyard in the Ravenswood lineup, the vineyard has only gotten better over the last nineteen years under the careful oversight of Will Bucklin and his family. One of the oldest vineyards on resistant rootstock in the world, the vines here date to the 1880s and are a field blend of 30+ varieties, including Grenache, Mataro, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Alicante, and a cabal of Alpen varieties (Persan, Mollard, Etraire de la Dui, and Corbeau) that I am convinced add to the always alluring aromatics. The 2019 iteration shows off the playful and juicy side of this vineyard with oodles of lip-smacking fruit and spice sitting gracefully on a balanced frame of structure. For a Sonoma boy like me, this smells like home.

2019 Noma Zinfandel, Lodi

This small lot comes from a very old, own-rooted vineyard that was about to be abandoned and turned into warehouses on the east side of Lodi. When we found out that plans for the warehouses had been delayed, we asked the owners if we could farm it until their plans changed again. In 2019, the small vineyard cropped at 0.4 tons per acre and made one of the darkest, densest Zinfandels I have ever seen from Lodi. What really amazed us, though, was how the vineyard retained natural acidity and brightness that leavened all of the fruit weight. We have no idea if we will ever be able to make this wine again, but it was simply too good not to capture its glory. Though only a few miles from Kirschenmann and Katushas’, and on similar soils, this is a different Beelzebub altogether.

2019 Dolinsek Ranch Heritage Wine, Russian River Valley

From one of the few old vine sites remaining on the east side of the Laguna del Santa Rosa (Jackass Hill and Radio Coteau’s “Lemoral” being the main other two), this wine oozes its cool climate and sandy soiled provenance. From vines planted in 1910 on northern slopes, this is a complex field blend based around Zinfandel but peppered with Barbera, Alicante Bouschet, Golden Chasselas (Palomino), Grand Noir, Syrah, Charbono, Cab Pfeffer (Mourtou), Black Muscat, and others. Possessing explosive spicy blue fruits and abundant weight, this vineyard always manages to counterpose its fruit weight with the natural buoyancy of its moderate clime. Dry-farmed and low-yielding, this is one of our most beloved and unfortunately smallest-production wines—the few barrels of this made each year have a treasured place in our personal cellars.

2019 Esola Zinfandel, Amador County

Our only Zinfandel offering from Amador County, Esola Zinfandel comes from vines in the center of the famous Shenandoah Valley. Owner Denise Esola farms these 1968-planted vines and the granitic soils they grow in with enormous TLC, and every year the wine is one of the most agile and graceful renditions of the variety we produce. The 2019 is no exception, possessing the explosive aromatics that make the site so singular (every year this smells like tarragon and grapefruit out of tank) along with red fruits and the edge of structure brought by the granitic subsoils. The 2019 is a bit looser knit than previous renditions and will reward earlier drinking than some examples of this bottling. It’s a piquant delight!

2018 Nervo Heritage Wine, Alexander Valley

One of the last of the mighty 2018s, this wine is also among the winery crew’s top-three favorite bottlings from this Herculean vintage. From the vineyard side, this vintage is the manifestation of four years of moving this vineyard to organic, minimal-till farming after years of excessive disking had turned the soil into barren powder. The refocus on building organic matter in the shale-rich soil via cover crops and compost resulted in vines with beautiful canopies and a more supple tannin structure than this firmly structured site has exhibited in the past. From the winery side, this wine shows all of the power and grace that we love. Though one of the warmest sites we work with in Sonoma County, this is always one of the most elegant, showcasing a Rhonish sensibility that is somewhat akin to Gigondas. The old vines on the property are spread across three small blocks of varying steepness and aspect. The largest block, dating to 1896, is east facing on 35-40-degree slopes and is a field blend dominated by Zinfandel with a good chunk of Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Burger, Mataro, and others. The second largest block, planted in the 1930s, contains a high level of Grenache, Trousseau Noir, Aubun, and more that provides a wine of flesh and density. The final, gently sloping block, planted in 1896, is planted to a majority of Negrette (Pinot St. George) along Zinfandel, Carignan, Mataro, and several white varieties and provides loads of pepper and perfume. In 2018, each of the blocks was vinified as its own field blend in small, open-top tanks with the final blend being composed of elements of all three. Just as an aside, we did a vertical of all vintages of this wine from the 2013 forward, and all are completely fresh, and in most cases, remarkably primary—the 2013 is just starting to open up and promises to have an extremely long life in front of it. I often need to remind people that our Heritage wines do not really behave like Zinfandel, even if there is some percentage of that grape in them—Nervo Ranch really drives this point home.

2019 Bien Nacido X-Block Syrah, Santa Maria

I think this is the best Bien Nacido we have made. Picked on October 18th at 21.9 brix, this site continues to blow my mind with the levels of full physiological maturity it can reach at such low potential alcohols. As usual, we split the fruit between multiple small open-top oak tanks with varying levels of whole-cluster inclusion ranging from 20-100%. The finished wine is a blend of the lots with average cluster inclusion at about 60%, all raised in neutral and nearly neutral demi-muids. The aromatics here are a celestial navigation of pepper and pig fat and violets that go vroom. I must admit that each time we make this wine, I unconsciously rate it against the great wines old friend Bob Lindquist made from this block for Qupe for many years (he is the reason the block was top worked to Syrah back in 1987). Though “Ode to Bob” doesn’t quite have the sonorous ring to accompany such a euphonic wine, it would be apropos, as I think this wine is one he would recognize and be very pleased with (and when we send him some, we shall find out if this is true!!).

2018 Calico Syrah, California

In 2018, we found ourselves in the unique situation of having too much really good Syrah in the cellar from a series of highly perfumed and aromatic sites around California. While futzing around with the different lots, we followed our noses to this blend, prioritizing perfume and lift The resulting wine, a blend of Syrah from the 40-degree slopes at Walker Vine Hill Vineyard in Russian River, a Viognier-rich section of Weill a Way, Shake Ridge Syrah, and splashes of Bien Nacido and Hudson, is exotic and highly expressive of the grape we love so much. We chose the name “Calico” in reference to the textile pattern defined by bright bursts of color, a visual we liked for a wine made from geographically distant vineyards marked by explosions of perfume.

2019 Wirz Riesling, Cienega Valley

From one of the oldest Riesling vineyards in California, Wirz has become an unlikely staple in our cadre of white wines. For me, the greatest sites we work with do not just check all the boxes of a good vineyard—good soils, fine farming, proper variety for terroir, etc. Though those are all extremely important and necessary, the sites and the wines I continually come back to and love most are those that also possess personality and soul, wines that manifest the love of the caretaker in their surroundings. When I drink Wirz, I think of the wildness of the vineyard setting, surrounded by golden California chaparral, the starkly plunging lines of the eastern Gabilans, of the small but barrel-chested Pat Wirz driving a large but equally enduring old cat-tracked tractor with a billow of limestone and granitic dust looming behind him. For me this Riesling is the totality of the that—savory, textured and uniquely Californian in all of its lofted, golden glory.

2019 Compagni Portis Heritage White, Sonoma Valley

This always scant-producing vineyard had a particularly light vintage in 2019, cropping at 0.71 tons per acre in our 11th year working with the vineyard. Though picked at a relatively low potential alcohol of 21.7 brix, the 1954-planted field blend of Gewurztraminer, Trousseau Gris, Riesling, Roter Veltliner, Chenin Blanc, and more is immensely concentrated with thick skins and small berries. The result is a particularly aromatic and intense effort that shows off the flamboyant aromatics of Gewurz with the texture of Trousseau Gris (aka Grey Riesling in CA) and snap of Riesling (aka White Riesling in CA) and Chenin. Native fermented in a combination of neutral oak and stainless-steel barrels with no MLF to retain freshness. Five barrels made.

2019 Staves of Waidhofen, Sonoma Valley

Our love letter to the ancient Austrian barrel maker located in the Alpen town of Waidhofen, Austria (this seems so mundane for a place that is the paladin of the puncheon, where divinity meets the demi-muid). Whereas most of the world’s barrel makers focus on reds (the number of screeds we receive each year on how so-and-so’s barrel will turn our Mourvedre into DRC amazes me), Fassbinderei Stockinger will be the first to admit that their gently-toasted barrels work better on white wines. When you ask Franz Stockinger about this, he says it with pride and shudders at the idea of over-toasting his carefully sourced wood in the same way a Carolina BBQ master might react to the idea of using beef rather than pork, or a concert pianist to using a Chickering rather than Bosendorfer (as a proud supporter of classic American-made pianos and owner of a vintage Mason & Hamlin, that sentence was hard to write). This wine is a blend of our two Sauvignon Blanc sites—predominately Uboldi with a small amount of Judge—and comes exclusively from a mix of Stockinger barrels of several sizes. Being entirely barrel-fermented, this certainly has more richness than our standard Sonoma Valley SB bottling; however, most will be surprised how subtle the wood influence is on the wine—emphasizing spice and density of the wine rather than overt woodiness. Five barrels made.

Welp… so much for sticking to a case! Morgan - your notes seem to suggest lower alcohols for some of the wines… any chance you can clue us in on the alc level of each?

Was planning to hold to one case but oh well. Thanks Morgan.

hey Morgan, I did some sleuthing based on the podcast and noticed Galloni has the price of this listed much closer to the high end of Bedrock offerings. do you think that’s where it’ll end up?

Easily in for a case of the OVZ and it’s a good thing I don’t mind buying 1s and 2s of different bottlings… [wink.gif]

Damn. How in the name of God can you NOT just dive in and end up meltin’ the credit card? Impossible.

I just listened to the podcasts. A few thoughts:

  • I will buy more than I was planning to.
  • sounds like a year to stock up on OVZ
  • I didn’t get the impression that Calico Syrah was replacing or equivalent to California Syrah so I would expect a higher price. I’m hoping it isn’t as high as Galloni’s listed $65. I would imagine the California Syrah will be part of the November release.
  • Morgan and Chris mention having recently done a Nervo vertical tasting. Sounds like they think the ‘13 is just entering the drinking range and the ‘14 was still young. I really wish they would publish notes and/or drinking ranges when the do verticals or horizontals. Loved it when they published notes on everything from 2007-2010.

I am getting old and forgetful- I just found my notes from when Morgan did the Nervo vertical tasting. I had already put them in the private note section of CellarTracker where I should know to look first.

This is probably a 2 case order. Listened to the podcasts yesterday and am excited to add these to the cellar. Going to be really hard not to stack up on a large quantity of OVZ.

If you are trying to limit your order and save your credit card I highly recommend NOT listening to the release notes podcast pileon

I didn’t take my Carlisle allocation in anticipation of this release. Looks like that may pay off.

Tuesday is going to hurt so good…

The way Morgan talked about Calico reminded me a bit of how he characterized Wedrock in the spring, as a “super cuvee.”

I’d expect a similar price point. Anyone open one of those yet, btw?

The podcasts are good and will help.