Great question.

I’m keeping this simple as a starting point - just get the pig by the tail. I’m working with three nurseries (criaderas) and am refreshing in 1/3 increments.

Of course, these wines are topped up, I’m not going for biological (flor) or oxidative aging here. The blend of the vintages to show place not year is a goal - but managing reduction in the base wines was a primary mission. I don’t add nutrients or yeast to my primary fermentations - so those native yeast struggle to multiply in the juice coming from this shallow section of my vineyard - resulting in reductive sulfur compounds, and especially after secondary in the bottle. It’s clear from this first solera bottling that the wine is neither reduced or oxidative - and thus has its place as a method in working with Bracken Pinot for sparkling.

Note that many sparkling producers that utilize solera systems don’t bottle these wines on their own. Rather, they use them as a component of a larger blend, taking other components from tanks, etc. The concern is that the blend exiting the solera is a bit “tired”. I admit this wine had limited time in tirage to take a first look at what this wine would to avoid a tired expression. The next iteration will probably see more time resting before disgorgement and I’ll see how time affects complexity, oxidative qualities v. reductive qualities, etc. I’m also interested in aging upright v on the side to have cork influence to see how the expressions differ - and this is why I’m also really interested in the fact that @Kenny_McMahon1 has the ability to agrafe (staple) bottles because those expressions are generally richer than the cleaner crown-cap expressions that result during tirage.

Indeed, it was awkward get this going as a matter of volume management - I used some half barrels and puncheons to hold volumes in wait, while some volumes were exited to other projects or topping wines until I could get all three levels in order. I’ll get further along over time - but thankfully the cost is not terrible in the sense that it is a great use for older barrels that otherwise might be retired. And truly, the cost is nothing compared to owning a vineyard.

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Well, perspective is everything :wink:

Thanks so much for your response, I’m sure I’ll enjoy your wines tremendously.

Got my bottles today. I have to say, the labels are really lovely too. Felt like that ought to be mentioned here too. Always more fun to bring a wine to a friend’s place when the label looks this good :slight_smile:

It appears my warehouse logged my Zinfandel package incorrectly - so if you see 2 bottles show up - 4 more will follow. I sent emails to those with the 4 other shipments en route. So many thanks to the buyer who notified me of the issue and stopped it before it got worse - he now has a $100 credit on his account!

After working on nuclear waste shipping - wine shipping doesn’t rattle me too much. We have the technology…we can fix it…usually with more wine!


Glad you like them. Love working with my friends and family who are artists on these. The 22s are by Mara Haseltine - who grew up in a family of scientists - her father helped decode the human genome and worked on breakthrough HIV research, her aunt at NIH in health - and her uncle at CIA in communications. All brilliant humans. I sponsored Mara into The Explorers Club and we will likely do an event together this spring - talking about moments of awareness in nature - how we learn about places. Mara is a pioneer in blending science and art together. Really far-out stuff. Love her.

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I ordered an acid Freak pack.

Kudos to the berserker for alerting!

Happy love day!!!

We have a 3L Zin winner - Mia Unson will be hostessing one fine BBQ this summer!


That’s definitely a must!!! Thank you so much!


Got my intro pack and thinking of cracking open the Bracken chard or pinot this weekend. Any decanting tips?

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Chard is good out of the gate. Pinot will probably benefit from some oxygen and I’d certainly suggest decanting!

That ‘14 Zin is singing right now and was a fan fave at a tasting the other night—in a room full of non zin drinkers nonetheless! The ‘15 was a baby, with a lot of upside.


Glad they were enjoyed! No question the 14 is a bit softer on impact. A little stem inclusion in the 15 gave a bit more tannin impact and longevity - which was on purpose as it would be the last of the Zin series. But yeah, these wines have managed some aging nicely’


I opened up the 2020 Bracken Pinot Noir Sparkling that Shelby donated to the Dick’s bd15 raffle. I had it with brunch — some lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry syrup.

I’d like to have this again in a couple years. Really pretty. There is a good amount of reduction on the nose, that doesn’t really bother me though. It did hide some of the aromatics.

This is honestly what I want a sparkling wine from the New World to be. It’s well made, has a purity of fruit and a sense of place. Honestly paired perfect with lemon ricotta pancakes @ShelbyPerkins you should try the pairing!

Thank you again @ShelbyPerkins and @JasonB for the bottle!

Thanks - I will! I just returned from a trip back east making maple syrup so I’m officially loaded for bear when it comes to sweet breakfasts! If you’re maple curious - my recent newsletter:

So glad you enjoyed!

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Btw what was the elevage of the bracken sparkling? I couldn’t find it, unless I missed it somewhere.

Base was 10 months in neutral Damy, with full ML conversion then 2 years in bottle before disgorgement.

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I posted these pictures of Bracken on social but just wanted to give a quick spring report. Things are looking green up on the Eola Bench after a fairly rainy winter. Bud break might be a week or two early this year and yet we’ve got about four more weeks of frost risk to get through!


And so it begins with the Chard.


Had the 2022 Bracken PN tonight. Delicious! Electric!

Pumped overnight and more evolved today, still kicking and screaming of life! :+1:

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It’s a good one - vines were planted in ‘16 so I’m looking forward to how things evoke w the PN bottlings!