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.
CALIFORNER DREAMIN’ – THE FÜTURE OF GERMAN+AUSTRIAN GRAPES ON OUR SHORES
Most of the world’s wine regions are like a green map showing where watersheds flow, where valleys catch cooling breezes and reflected sunlight from the rivers below. Floating along Germany’s Rhine River or the Danube in Austria, one can see how the precipitous vines nearly hold the rocky banks up, and how those rocks build up wines with a dizzyingly deep terroir structure. In California, where most rivers are ephemeral and dry up in the golden months of the summer, our best wine regions often rely on the Pacific Ocean and its omnipresent, often brutal, frigid wind and fog. Where Austrian and German vines reach for the slightest sun and warmth in the steepest climes, here in California the sun abounds, and it is the cold hard love of the Pacific that tames wild fruit and lofty alcohol to let the vines express their subtlety and their inner mineral. While there are still precious few examples to point to, this month’s Californer-Austrian güdness is an inspiration for the füture of German+Austrian grapes on our shores.
WINE NO. 1
Vöcal Wines / Grüner Veltliner / Alfaro Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, California 2018 / $30
Moist turned earth and celery salt on the nose, almost reminiscent of potato peel, with classic grüner white pepper all over the palate. Rich without ripeness, tons of texture like olive oil drizzled over yellow pears and sweet avocado, and those bizarre creamy tropical muskmelons like sapo and Santa Claus melon. Double high five and a vocal huzzah for nailing the varietal character in California!
WINE NO. 2
Tatomer Wines / Riesling / Kick On Ranch, Santa Barbara, California 2017 / $38
Pour this glass, and then let’s all stop and praise Graham for bringing serious F*in’ trocken riesling to California! White tea, meadow flowers, sushi ginger, salinity, apricot velvet, crushed river rock, jump in to the stream of consciousness that gushes from this glass. This is why riesling is the king and Kick On kicks the arse.
WINE NO. 3
March Wines / Saint Laurent / Carneros, North Coast, California / $31
Blackberry compote oozing in a just-baked pastry, fresh berry delight with a warm cup of black Assam tea. The aromatics are super alluring, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour cherry with pomegranate concentrate; the wine is thoughtful and bright with long acidity and aromatic rose water and bergamot through the finish.
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.