Seven Percent is the movement celebrating and perpetuating varietal diversity in California. The lineup of winemakers and growers we work with are top of their class, making some of the most interesting and sought-after wines in the US, working with grapes very familiar in the Old World but new to California, perpetuating varietal diversity, and redefining California wine. We are very lucky to live amongst and represent so many rebels. You can learn more about the movement HERE.
Etxea Albariño / Rorick Vineyard / 2018
Pure minerality and fresh spring herbaceous-ness that smells like the spray from a waterfall while on a hike in the pacific northwest. The nose that brings me to things like cut hay, celery salt and meyer lemons. That delightful lemon and salty goodness shines through on the tongue with a racy cut of acid that just fires up all salivary glands.
Jaimee Motley Rosé of Mondeuse / Rorick Vineyard / 2018
Wild strawberries, blood orange and just a touch of watermelon jolly rancher are the first things out of the glass and it is immediately tantalizing with a deep fruit saturation that hints that the wine is much more than just a quaffable pink pounder. The fruit hits the palate and shifts from ripe and juicy to dry and charmingly bitter in an instant.
Forlorn Hope ‘C/Ghost’ / Mondeuse / 2017
Beautifully aromatic from the start; lavender and rosemary steeped in lush black cherries. The warm and dark berried fruit is saturated but not at all over ripe or dense and the tannins on the finish are much more velvety than gripping. Instead, you’re left with a slight touch of bitter notes that are pleasantly balanced like a great cup of coffee. There is also a perfect peppery note from the stems that remind me of Côte Rôtie; not bad company to be compared to.
When delving into our favorite subject about planting the long list of new-to-California grape varieties, the biggest question is where to plant them. Obviously there is much we can learn simply by looking at where they are successful in their home soils, but for so many of these vines there is no actual playbook that says how well they will thrive here. There is an insane amount to consider in viticulture as each individual variety has its own sensitivities and growing requirements but, generally speaking, this is California and we can grow just about anything here. Part of this new frontier is about trial and error; just because the terroir or climate doesn’t precisely match where a grape may originate from doesn’t mean that it can’t be successful here and possibly worthy of creating a great California made wine.
One very important player in the movement is Matthew Rorick. Not only does he make truly fabulous wines under his Forlorn Hope label, but six years ago he began an epic re-grafting project at his estate vineyard in Calaveras County in the Sierra Foothills. At this point Matt is working with approximately 50 different grape varieties on this 75 acre property and as his curiosity expands in working with different grapes, the opportunity for others to purchase fruit and try their hands at making wine from them does as well.
Needless to say the project is still young and the potential that a vineyard like this has for influencing the move toward varietal diversity is massive.
Seven Percent California Wine Club is the new frontier for grape growers, winemakers and folks like us who just love to drink good juice. Each month we bring you three grape varieties that, although rare here in California, are certainly not completely unheard of in our soils. They each have great histories in the Old World, but their story is still young and chock full of potential here. We also feature wineries/incredibly talented winemakers that are important pieces to this new category of wine. The Seven Percent movement and the group of impassioned winemakers that make it a reality have been growing in strength for several years now and the time to take center stage seems just around the corner. We expect variation and quality in every aspect of our lives these days, why not demand more than wines made from only eight grape varieties? It represents the spirit of California winemaking – where exploration is the focus and discovery the glorious and delicious result.