123 Years and Counting - Bedrock Heritage Red 2011

Posted by Chris Cottrell

123 Years and Counting
2011 Bedrock Heritage
Bedrock Vineyard
Pre-Prohibition Winemaking

"Morgan Twain-Peterson is one of the most impressive young winemakers I have ever met." - Antonio Galloni

Morgan and his Bedrock winery are steeped in California wine history - both philosophically and physically.

The pioneers of California viticulture not only inspired the wine offered today, they planted the vines. In fact, these are some of the oldest vines still producing grapes in the country, 123-years-old and counting. (For a fascinating history of the Bedrock Vineyard involving General "Fightin' Joe" Hooker and the father of publisher William Randolph Hearst, see below.)

A huge part of the Bedrock mission is preserving living parts of California's winemaking history. Morgan is a key member of the Historic Vineyard Society, an effort to preserve California's historic vineyards.

Another part is redefining Zinfandel's modern image. The great majority of Zinfandels made in the last 25 years have been alcoholic, raisin-y fruit bombs. But keep in mind that this has been a winemaking choice; this is by no means a varietal or climate characteristic.

Zinfandel can be elegant, aromatically complex and worthy of a place in the cellar for decades.

Morgan in the vineyard

It's this elegant, nervy and decidedly cellar-worthy style of Zinfandel that Morgan is striving towards. This is the kind of wine that drinkers of traditional Rhône wines and right bank Bordeaux will be at home with.

If you have had an aged Ridge Geyserville you get a sense of the style here.

To start, Morgan turns his attention to very old vineyards. Often, as is the case here, he embraces field blends to add depth, structure and complexity to Zinfandel. Heritage is about 50% Zinfandel and then relies on a laundry list of California's historical plantings: Carignane, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Syrah, Tempranillo, Trousseau, Mission, Negrette, Mondeuse, Lenoir, Aubun, and that's just the start...

The most important model for the project is the wines California produced before prohibition, before having the varietal on the label was a key selling point. There was a lot of wisdom to these old-fashioned practices and Bedrock seeks to tap into this. In those days, the wines were inspired by the old world, but a distinctively California flavor was added right down to the bizarre combinations of grapes that reflect the viticultural melting pot that it was.

The wines of the 2011 vintage are blessed with a serious spine of acidity. For many growers 2011 in the North Coast was a headache but Morgan may have made his best wines to date. It was one of the coolest years on record and this suited the style of wines that he wants to make perfectly.

If nothing else, his 2011 collection is the freshest and possesses the most earth tones of any collection he's released. There's a lovely elegance to the wines and yet, there's a complexity and sense of completeness to the wines.

Success does have its cost, though: to hit this level of quality in 2011 40% of the fruit was declassified. If there is ever a testament to a sincere pursuit of quality, it's declassifying nearly half of your production.

The results are beautiful, fascinating and above all, important. This is a wine, literally, well over 100 years in the making. Do not miss.

To order, please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Chris Cottrell
Specialist, Fine & Rare
Crush Wine & Spirits

This is the same wine that was previously called "Heirloom" - it has been changed because someone trademarked the word "Heirloom!" So it goes.

A Short History regarding the Bedrock Vineyard
The Bedrock vineyard has a fascinating history. It was originally planted by General William "Tecumseh" Sherman and General "Fightin’ Joe" Hooker in 1854. The property has grown grapes continuously for well over 150 years. In 1888 the vines were replanted by Senator George Hearst, the father of publisher William Randolph Hearst.