Mailer season is about here and I think I need to make room for a new producer, which isn’t really the direction I should be heading following last year’s successful purge, but I can’t help it. So far this summer I’ve tried 3 different Bedrock wines and liked them all, and paid $20, $30, and $30 in the process, some from K&L and some direct from Bedrock. Just hopped on the list. And now this on tap next Tuesday:
"The release will include the first, delicious and poised, 2009 reds (Sonoma Valley Old Vine Zinfandel and Stellwagen Vineyard Zinfandel), the 2009 Cuvee Caritas Bordeaux Blanc blend, and the trio of tiny production (40-50 cases each) 2008 Hudson Syrah “Three Ways.”
Not all the prices are online, but the appellation Zin is $24 and the Syrahs $42.
My favorite wine of the summer:
2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Mourvedre Ode to Lulu Rosé- USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Valley (7/5/2010)
The hype is real. Tied for my 2nd favorite Rose ever, behind (you guessed it) several vintages of Tempier and alongside the 09 Wind Gap gratis rose of Syrah. Watermelon and pebbles, with strawberry and a creamy lime wash. Fantastic with grilled chicken, various salads, and just about anything. Received Thursday, took one to a party on Saturday, opened another today (Monday). Great! (91 pts.)
So I’m in for at least a half-case. I’ll max out on Carlisle, too, which should be coming soon and the combination will force me to spend less on something else, probably Copain of all things. (Oh noes!)
And about Bedrock, what’s the catch? Granted, “The Importance of…” language on their website is gag-worthy but the eclectic lineup and (so-far) results in the bottle are hard to resist, and the pricing is very fair.
Despite the disclaimer, all of these producers are making very good wines in California, and really are well priced. I love what Wells has going on at Copain. He really has evolved in to his style and is like Edmund St. John (to me), but in Northern Cali. Copain has dialed it back a bit, and I thought that was a great thing. The wines are still big, but showing great character and complexity. Bedrock is easily the best new producer (ironic to say considering the old vines they use) from Cali right now. The wines are tremendous, and have a ton of character and charm. They should age really well too. Some non-wine biz friends came over when I opened an 08 Heirloom red, and were super impressed.
I have tried the 08 Rebecca’s Vineyard Pinot and the 07 Kick Ranch Syrah and 07 Cab. These are wines not for the “faint of heart”. There is a certain “educational” element to these wines. That is, for me, it is learning about old vines, field blends, different dimensions in the wine. They do not fit into the nice and neat categories of California wine. Tanzer had some interesting comments on these wines while doling out fairly good scores.
I think the Josh Raynolds coverage in IWC must have got my attention; Josh reviewed 21 of their wines the past 2 years, with only 2 getting <90 points. Then I saw the Zin blends at K&L for $30 each (5 less than direct IIRC) and I actually bought one of each, with a follow up direct order from Bedrock of Rose and Syrah. I also think there was a Beserker thread from someone about a tasting of field blend wines that included a Bedrock. I’ve always dug old-vine Zin and mixed blacks in my Zin as featured in Ridge and Carlisle.
Copain is still dear to me, but I just splurged on a James Berry Syrah 3 pack (05-07), my cellar is overweighted in Syrah and Pinot, and I’m looking to stock up on eclectic whites and Zin, so the shift makes sense. The bigger effect is probably to stick in a fork in Williams-Selyem for me, which is sad but personally worthwhile. The rest of my stable is solid, and I want to keep cash on hand for retail opportunities in the coming months.
I’ve read many a salivating FMIII TN and I’m confident you’d like the Bedrocks I have so far tried. The brand feels very California, very wine-geeky, with great fruit sources and youthful complexity. Of course this is still a trial buy for me, but one I am optimistic about.
Brought two Bedrock’s to the recent BFIII at Frenchies. but presumably got lost in the sea of wine there. Both were on the “cold” table in the kitchen, but not sure if you strayed too far from the reds! By the time I left they had barely been touched, so probably not more than one or two folks tried it. Perhaps I should have evangelized a bit. Brought the Ode to Lulu rosé, which Josh Raynolds just rated 91 in today’s IWC Rosé report, making it his top U.S. rosé for the second year running. I noted in the separate Mourvedre post that the Lulu is 100% Mourvedre from 120 year old vines. Also brought the '09 Sauv Blanc, which has stunning aromatics (to me) and was also rated 91 by Josh with a comment that it was a cross between a NZ Sauv Blanc and a white Bordeaux. Both are $20-22, so great value in my book. The Campagni Portis white old vine field blend is also a great one. I bought several of the 2008 reds, including the Kick Ranch and Old Lakeville Syrahs, and the Heirloom field blend, but have opened only one Kick Ranch Syrah as I wanted to give the reds a bit of bottle time. Thought the Kick Ranch was Kick A–. I believe Messr’s Dildine and Pohlman have already become Bedrock converts and have posted notes on this and the other board.
As for “discovering”…in my case it was a similar “Who will be the next Carlisle thread” back in January. Jumped on board then and have no regrets. I’ll be happy to bring some to a future event, or hmmmm…perhaps Morgan might be enticed to participate in the next Falltacular.
Been a fan since I first tasted Morgan’s wines for the first time almost exactly a year ago. I did an enthusiastic blog post about it being a winery to get in on the ground floor on last year (at http://www.amateurwino.com/?p=238" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) so I agree with you!
Since then, I’ve been able to taste a wider range of Morgan’s wines and as much as I dig the reds, there’s a good argument that his whites and roses may be even better. For those looking for a mailing list with lots of strong choices throughout a versatile range, this is an excellent choice.
Don’t know if Bedrock is the new Carlisle but is certainly the next evolution in the world of domestic Pinot Noir. I was gifted the 2007 Rebecca vineyard Pinot several months ago and was impressed by its range. Impressions included exotic, cerebral, shy and precocious, yet respectful and even shy. Worth pursuing.
Bedrock is far and away my favorite new winery. The comparisons to Carlisle are inevitable, since both are making very high quality Sonoma County SVD Syrah & Zin at reasonable prices.
For me, the reds from Bedrock seem a bit more sauvage however they are younger (I’m drinking mostly '04 & '05 Carlisle, but my youngest Bedrocks are '08, his 2nd vintage). The whites & rosé from Bedrock are IMO peerless.
I agree with Frank that holding back on Copain for any reason is a bad policy!!!
Concerning Bedrock, I first heard of BWC when Mike O. announced that he was sourcing grapes from the Bedrock Vineyard (SV, 1888) last year. Proprieter Morgan Twain-Peterson’s old vine passion and focus convinced me to give his wines a try - and I am delighted that I did.
Morgan is more eclectic - stylistically and in terms of grape varieties than Mike. However, he is no less committed to his craft. One of the most interesting new ventures to hit the CA wine scene in some time IMO. I’m very excited about Morgan’s upcoming release.
I think it’s unfortunate that any producer who makes assertive wines of character from Northern California may be labeled “the next Carlisle” or whatever, as it really points out how few producers are taking the time, effort, and dedication to do just this sort of thing. Call Morgan what you will, I think of him as plainly an intriguing young producer with tremendous upside, offering enjoyable wines at prices that make you want to drink them. It is mind boggling that in these economic times there are so few producers willing to put in the effort to do the kinds of things he is doing. By the way, I am enjoying a Bedrock 2008 Sonoma County Syrah tonight…it is a truly awesome QPR that waaaaay outperforms its price point. Without question, it needs 3+ hours of air time to begin showing its true self, a fact I did not appreciate at first, as its price alone led me to think of it as a “pop and pour” sort of thing. Could definitely lay down for 3-5 years! Should have backed up the truck on that one; I’ll know better next time.
I think I agree with you. Just to be clear, I don’t know Morgan, so I’m not calling him anything (and you could do worse to be compared to Carlisle), much less labeling him or his wines. The comparison is valid on QPR basis if nothing else, and I while it would be nice to have more just-plain-great wines at ~$30, I don’t blame producers for lacking the business acumen, winemaking talent, and capital that propel wineries like Carlisle (and Bedrock?) towards widespread acclaim and success, and nor do I blame wineries for trying to hang on to a higher price point for their brand, even if some of them are kidding themselves.
The “new Carlisle” line, if you read my first post, is also rooted in my own personal mix of mailers under consideration. To be blunt: I love Carlisle, but if their SVD Zins had jumped $40+, I’d probably shift to Ridge, Bedrock, Ottomino, etc. As it is, I’m hopeful that I found another good source that makes Zins (which I happen to be short in) and a whole bunch of other interesting stuff, too.
Ultimately, I think we agree that it would be nice to see more fruits of price competition among CA producers. I suspect another 6 months of patience will bring a big shake-out that will not make Bedrock look like the glorious QPR it does today.
According to Mike Officer, the waiting list to get on his mailing list appears to be in the 4-5 year range. It would be a foolish businessman who didn’t consider a price increase in that situation. At least for Carlisle, that doesn’t sound like a market that’s about to correct any time soon. That said, the waiting list may shrink much faster with a price increase.
I have cut back on Biale this year, as their SVD Zin prices seem to have crept up from the $25-$30 range to the $35-$40 range, which moves them from a wine I’d pop any day, to one I’d only consider for a special occasion. The Outpost at $45 so far has been a “pocket veto”, not that I’m against the price, but not really motivated to buy either.
Regarding Bedrock, I have difficulty imagining better QPR than the '08 Sonoma County Syrah, but here the price correction may have already taken place, since these seem to be originally destined for SVD bottlings that Morgan thought twice about seeing the current market status for Syrah. Indeed the small production wine is sold out, which says it was at a very good price point for the market.
Been on the Carlisle waiting list for over 2 years. Have to resort to what Mike offers up to the retailers. Came across this post while perusing old threads last week: http://www.wineberserkers.com/viewtopic.php?p=240216#p240216
Led me to his website. Intrigued me enough to join Morgans list. Picking up my wine tomorrow. Nice to be able to get in while the getting’s good.
I’ve been a fan of Bedrock for a few years now. I have not had a bad wine from them. The Sonoma County Syrah Nate refers to is awesome QPR at under $20/bottle. I’ve also had the Ode to Lulu - one of my favorite domestic Roses; Heirloom White - Gewürztraminer-driven field blend; Sauv Blanc; Heirloom Reds - 2 distinct old vine field blends; and 2 Syrahs - Kick Ranch and Old Lakeville. I also have a couple of Morgan’s Cabs but have yet to crack one.
Thanks everybody for being such wonderful enablers. Just when I thought I had a handle on minimizing my mailers this board sucks me back in. However, this project sounds extremely interesting and Morgan is obviously working with some 1st class vineyards. The wines sound like they will appeal to me and at the very reasonable price points I’m willing to give these a shot. I just ordered some Rose and a couple each of the Kick Ranch and Lakeville syrahs. I’ll also pick up a few from the upcoming release.
I wouldn’t blame Carlisle if they did raise prices a few dollars, given the demand, but if the median got much over $40 then I’d be tempted to go back to buying from Biale and Outpost and Williams Selyem, all of which I enjoy but no longer purchase directly on a QPR basis. As of now, if Carlisle had a relatively off vintage, I would not drop and move on to a new producer.
I’m already hoping that Bedrock will choose a similar path of price stability, which would make my prospective comparison ever more valid. If the points and customers come in and the price goes up a little, OK, then it is still all about the wine and what my absolute favorites are. But if what we have is just a reflection of a brand new operation opening up in a tricky recession and the median ultimately gets to be over $40 for the SVDs then my excitement will subside. Better wines at lower prices = happy customers no matter what!
Wow, all the kind words about the wines are humbling, but I am certainly happy to hear people are enjoying the Bedrock efforts. I am certainly not qualified to comment on whether Bedrock is the next Carlisle, or anything along those lines, but Carlisle is certainly one of my favorite wineries and Mike O. one of my favorite people.
The one thing I can comment on is this. The prices for Bedrock will not go up-- it is, quite literally, not in my DNA. I buy a lot of wine and have worked as a wine-buyer while in college and there is very little that irks me more than wine whose price is not commensurate to its quality. Wine, IMHO, should be delicious, interesting, and generally available to most. This was the philosophy my dad embraced when he started Ravenswood, and is one embraced by some of my favorites producers. The pricing formula is pretty straightforward-- if I buy fruit for $3500 a ton, the wine will be right around $35, with a little play in there depending on oak (and I do only use the best barrels I can buy). In some cases I actually drop the price substantially from this as well-- the three 2008 Hudson wines will go out to the list for $39, even though I pay $5500 a ton for the fruit. I may barely break even, but if I can sell the wine it means I get to work with some amazing fruit, which is worth it to me. The same will go for Monte Rosso, which is upwards of $4000 a ton for the old-vine Zinfandel, but whose final wine I will likely sell for $38 or so.
The current economic climate only reinforces my feeling about wine pricing. Be a little humble with price, make interesting wines from great spots, and people will continue to want to purchase from you while the take less of their allocation of the super-expensive stuff. Also, as some can already tell, I like to experiment a lot, and I need some margin for error if I ever screw something up!
Thanks again for the kind words and I look forward to hearing what you think of the 2009 reds as they come out.
This is definitely a new winery worth following. I’ll be getting the zins and the Caritas, and if there are a few roses left I might jump on those as well.
The only problem is that these wines are oh so drinkable that is hard to force myself to age a few.