Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Taste of 132 Year-Old California Vines

At the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in San Francisco Bay's Carquinez Strait, ancient vines have witnessed California history for the past 132 years. Today, the Evangelho Vineyard, where these centenarian vines are planted, is unfazed by progress. Its vines stand defiantly surrounded by a PG&E plant, a Burger King, and a seedy motel. They don't make vines like these anymore.

The vineyard consists mainly of Mourvedre and Carignan vines, but there is also Zinfandel, Palomino, Alicante, and Mission. These gnarly vines are still planted on their own roots, scoffing at the phlloxera epidemic that plagued not just California but all of Europe. Because the vineyard is dry-farmed (not irrigated), the vines fetch their own water deep underground using their well-established roots. They're happy to grow as bush vines without trellis support, flaunting the zigzag curves of their massive trunks.

Bedrock Wine Co., a Sonoma Valley winery founded and run by the young Morgan Twain-Peterson in 2007, is one of the brightest stars among the new generation of California wine producers. The winery focuses on producing wines from Northern California's heritage vineyards-vineyards that were established in the 19th century and early 20th century whose vines survive to this day.

Bedrock Wine's 2012 Evangelho Vineyard Heritage red is beautifully crafted, deeply flavored, and expressive of the awesome fruit source for this wine.

Contra Costa County Red "Evangelho Vineyard", Bedrock Wine Co. 2012 $31.00

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