Ancient Vines and a History Lesson
2009 Bedrock Dolinsek Ranch Heirloom Red
"What makes Bedrock exciting is the authenticity and individuality of its wines."
- James Laube
Put your preconceived notions of California wine on hold. This is not about cool-climate Pinot, Burgundy-beckoning Chard or even cult Napa Cab. Today we present a field blend of 100-year-old Zinfandel vines with everything from Alicante Bouschet to Tempranillo to Teroldego thrown in...
Yes, proprietor Morgan Twain-Peterson is definitely doing something different here. And in just a couple of years his Bedrock Wine Co. has become one of the most important new wineries in California, using historic, old vine sites as his cornerstone - his bedrock, if you will.
Bedrock (noun): the solid rock underlying unconsolidated surface materials (as soil). Or, in this case, as vines. This offbeat mix is what was planted here in 1910, and this is what Morgan still harvests here in 2010, never mind the region's feverish market for Cab, Chard and Pinot.
In so doing, he's helping to preserve a style of wine that honors the viticultural history and pioneers of California, and today I am thrilled to offer the debut 2009 vintage of Bedrock's Dolinsek Ranch Heirloom Red, a Zinfandel-based field blend, at as low as $34.95 a bottle on the three-pack.
This is Bedrock's most hedonistic effort - a wine with a deep purple core and a heady aroma of boysenberry, blueberry, Asian spices and black peppercorn. The Russian River Valley's signature rich blue fruits continue on the palate yet pack enough balancing acidity to handle the fruit, the octane behind it all. I appreciate that although Morgan loves Old World-styled wines with their delicacy and subtlety, he let the vineyard speak here, as there's something to be said for a wine that's rich, concentrated and intense because the terroir calls for it.
The terroir is the Dolinsek vineyard, planted in 1910 by Angelo Fratti and located in the "golden triangle" of the Russian River Valley with neighbors like Joseph Swan and Kistler's Vine Hill. Morgan describes it as "one of the greatest sites for Zinfandel I have ever seen."
Its steep, north-facing slopes and sandy Goldridge loam soil, prized for its lack of water retention, create a difficult environment for the vines to survive in. The struggle lends itself to great wine as vines must send their roots deep into the earth, left with only enough energy to produce a couple of concentrated clusters per vine.
The grapes here are about 70% Zinfandel with the balance being "mixed blacks," a chaotic-by-design blend of different supporting grapes that was popular pre-prohibition. This is not a "varietal vine," but a vineyard wine, a blend pre-determined in the vineyard. The supporting grapes add a depth and complexity that Zinfandel alone would not - could not - achieve. And they can't help but speak of the "bedrock" below them.
For anyone who has enjoyed a Ridge or Carlisle wine, this is a must-try. Each shares a common philosophy that ancient vines and mixed vineyards should be preserved and enjoyed, not ripped up to plant Cabernet, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. These vineyards are becoming scarcer and scarcer as vines die off - from natural causes or market driven ones.
The vineyard size and miniscule yields mean that Morgan made a total of just 150 cases in 2009. It's a tiny amount of wine, and it's completely sold out at the winery. We were lucky to get a sizable allocation (Morgan and I are close friends, and we agreed to my allocation before the Bedrock mailer went out, where they sold out more quickly than either of us could have imagined!). His mailing list is now full, and with critical praise increasing every day, these are going to be harder and harder to get your hands on in the future.
To place your order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
Specialist, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits
Dolinsek Ranch Heirloom Red, Russian River Valley
Wine arrives January 2011
NET | No further discount