Wine of the Week
A Pick from Her VineNess
2010 Ranchero Cellars, Carignan, Mendocino Old Vines, $30
Winemaker Amy Butler loves making Carignan from this low-yielding site in Redwood Valley with its 90-year-old vines as big as she. Farmed for three generations by the Colombini family, the vines produce huge clusters that help underscore Carignan’s reputation as wild and uncivilized. Amy tried to coax some elegance and grace out of these grapes, even though she reverted to rustic, old-world techniques to emphasize the unique personality of the vineyard and variety.
Whole cluster fermentation helped moderate the assertive tannin and generous acid of the variety, while cold soaking brought the plummy fruit to the forefront. The resulting wine is perfectly balanced between sweet and savory aromas, with plenty of texture and structure, and a plush, fruity mid-palate. This wine is wild, sassy, filled with racy red fruits and boundless energy, like a yearling colt discovering its own natural speed.
This wine is available for purchase on the Ranchero Cellars website, http://www.rancherocellars.com/the-wines/
Laura Ness, aka “Her VineNess,” has called the Santa Cruz Mountains home for more than 30 years. She loves hanging out with winemakers and winegrowers in their vineyards and cellars, drinking in their quirky, inspiring stories, and of course, their wines. She most enjoys sharing her experiences with people as besotted with wine and food as she is, and happily recommends good bottles of wine for your drinking pleasure.