2012 Birichino, Malvasia Bianca, Monterey– $15.99
Though Birichino is a new producer, the winemakers, Alex Krause and John Locke, have been making wine with others for years. Most notably, they spent years with Randall Grahm at Bonny Doon which has strongly influenced their approach to producing wine. According to Alex, we “make wines that we like to drink. Low in alcohol, high-toned in terms of aromatics, brightness from acidity, with very minimal intervention, native yeasts, and stainless steel or neutral barrels. We practice the art of staying the hell out of the way and letting the vineyard do the talking.”
Birichino began in 2008 with one wine, this Malvasia, from a vineyard once leased by Grahm but which he let go when he shifted from organic to biodynamic. With his blessing, Krause and Locke began buying the fruit and making this wine. While the wine is dry, there are some sweet aromas of pineapple and cantaloupe, which come through on the palate. It is a remarkably ripe wine for 12.5% alcohol, yet has plenty of frisky acidity on the finish to leave the palate fresh. It should pair nicely with double and triple cream cheeses.
2013 Lieu Dit, Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Barbera– $21.99
Founded in 2011 by partners Eric Railsback, a sommelier, and Justin Willett, owner/winemaker for Tyler Winery, Lieu Dit focuses exclusively on Loire varietals citing Santa Barbera’s marine sentiment and diatomaceous earth similar to that of the Loire Valley. While we hope to get in the Chenin Blanc later this week, for now we are happy to offer the Sauvignon Blanc.
The wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc from three vineyards in SantaYnez’s Happy Valley. The different lots are fermented differently, most in barrel, some in tank, then blended and aged in neutral barrels.
This is the only wine from this producer that I have tried; it makes me want to drill a bit deeper. It has some watercress, fresh spring peas (soon!), and lime zest on the nose and palate, and here is where the Loire resemblance comes in—fresh, crisp, and clean on the finish. Reminds me of the wet stones as we walk along our Vermont dirt road by the Green River.