SEVEN PERCENT CALIFORNIA CLUBTasting Notes
Seven Percent is the movement celebrating and perpetuating varietal diversity in California. The lineup of winemakers we work with are top of their class, making some of the most interesting and sought-after wines in the US. These are the winemakers and growers who are 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.
WAY DOWN IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
Grenache Blanc, Sémillon, Counoise… all three of the grapes we are showcasing this month are very seldom used as single varietal wines in their homeland at all. This brings up an important part of this conversation regarding the search for what varieties will shine here in California as we diversify our vineyard landscape.
KALOO KALLAY FOR VALDIGUIÉ
Often we can point to the old world when discussing the potential of a grape variety to flourish here in California, not just in the vineyards but where what is easily thought of as most important… in the marketplace. But the all but orphaned anomaly that is Valdiguié may just remain where it stands today for the foreseeable future; as the nerdy and rare delight that is and, at the very least, super fun to say. And to drink.
WISH THEY ALL COULD BE CALIFORNIA GRAPES
Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts are obsessed with mountain biking, and soil, geology, native plants and mini microclimates. They don’t own any of the over 20 vineyards they source from, but this frees them up to sniff out the most exceptional sites and work with only the most conscientious growers, and also to play with some of the unheralded “Seven Percent” grapes that might just be the right fit in California.
Things have gotten a little weird, but the resilience of vines, and of winemakers, remains incredibly constant. The effects of our new norm are palatable, but to what scale we clearly have no idea yet. But on the positive side, many small producers are seeing a dedication to their brands through direct sales to customers that has always been a difficult process and achievement prior to this. Support for these smaller producers and the more interesting wines is imperative to perpetuate. Buying their wines and supporting them is the ultimate win-win.
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. This month’s Californer-Austrian güdness is an inspiration for the füture of German+Austrian grapes on our shores.
BAY AREA RULE BREAKERS
This is a deep look into the spirit of the Seven Percent movement. To the typical California palate, these are ‘light’ wines, to many others they are ‘just right’ wines. They can say “what we do here is going to be different” – in Berkeley, Oakland and Santa Cruz – because it’s all about rewriting the story. New frontiers, bold choices, sometimes defying tradition… What’s more fun than that?
ALL THE LOVE FOR ALL THINGS LOIRE
Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc are no strangers to California soil. But now a new set of champions are making wines from these grapes, reflecting their true nature, and giving them the opportunity to shine above the rest.
WITH GRAPE CURIOSITY COMES GRAPE RESPONSIBILITY
Six years ago Matthew Rorick began an epic re-grafting project at his estate vineyard in Calaveras County. Today he is working with approximately 50 different grape varieties on his 75 acre property. These are three wines from his new-to-California grapes.
DECEMBER CLUB : BUBBLES FOR THE PEOPLE
California Seven Percenters collectively produce some of our favorite bubbles on Earth. Driven by soil, low alcohol and complexity, this month will, at the very least, help you ring in the New Year in serious style.
AN INTRODUCTION TO VARIETAL DIVERSITY
California: the new frontier for grape growers, winemakers and folks like us who just love to drink good juice. 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 France and Spain, and their story is still young and chock full of adventure and potential.