Alquimista February 2020 Newsletter

7th Feb 2020 @ 14:07 by Pamela

Happy February Everyone

What’s a better way to celebrate winter than tasting through the 2019 barrels in Alquimista’s cellar? We are happy to announce that our 2019 wines are moving along and mostly ready for barrel tasting, and we will begin selling futures of these wines beginning now. Though a couple of the wines are still struggling to finish primary fermentation, the majority have pushed through even malolactic fermentation and are now starting to take shape.

In addition to our classic Pinots and Chards, we seem to have become a home for some of the most ancient vines in the world, making wine from some of the oldest plantings in CA and beyond. Here are some of the highlights, featuring the brand-new (for us) ancient vineyards:

Bechthold ancient vines cinsault - photo by Randy Caparoso Photography
Photo by Randy Caparoso Photography

  • Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault: This is the oldest Cinsault vineyard in the world! Planted in sandy Mokolumne River soils on its own roots and owned by Greg Burns’ family vineyard Jessie’s Grove, this ancient planting is muscular, brooding and dramatic with its smoked meats and visceral muskiness. This is shaping up to be an epic wine that should not be missed!

  • The “1900 Block” Carignane, also from Greg Burns, is just 12 years younger than the Carignane that represents about 8% of our Ancient Vines Jessie’s Grove Zinfandel and also on its own roots in sandy soils. 4% Fontainebleau Golden Chasselas, an ancient table grape originating in eastern Turkey and the birthplace of Vitis vinifera, contributes a forward fruitiness with its whole-cluster semi-carbonic voice to the overall presentation of charcuterie forwardness to this wine.

  • “Three Century Vines” French Colombard: from the 1896-planted Betty Ann Vineyard & the 1950s Wes Cameron Vineyard, this wine is actually not for sale from Alquimista but you can taste it with us only when you come to our cellar. It is the house white wine that we made for Single Thread Farms from the 2018 Vintage, where you can purchase it off their tasting menu. We will be making this limited wine for our wine club members only in the upcoming 2020 vintage, so this is a sneak preview.

We also have a new addition to our Pinot and Chard line-up: rock-star viticulturist Jim Pratt’s fruit. Greg has worked with Jim since the mid-90s at Flowers and has wanted to put his name on a bottle for years and years. We were able to obtain a very small amount (about 70 cases worth) of his home ranch Irwin Old Wente Chard and a bit more of his Pinot from Hall Road. Known as one of the very best vinemen in West Sonoma County, Jim has been the green thumb behind a number of great bottlings over the years. These wines are also now in barrel and await your tasting and purchase as part of our futures program.

Come and join us in the cellar this winter and spring and revisit some of your old faves, including van der Kamp (the 2019 Meunier is cellar-stellar!), Manchester Ridge, Hawk’s Roost, Lorenzo, Haiku and Mes Filles vineyards. The 2018s are mostly still in barrel and available to taste and purchase as futures.

Please note: all futures can be ordered as magnums or any size of large-format bottles you wish! Ideal for commemorating special events in your life, we can produce something very special for you and your family and friends. We consider such celebrations to be the best use of our wines!

Looking forward to raising the glasses together soon,
Greg La Follette, Alquimista Cellars