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September 27, 2019
La Clarine Farm: Four New Releases for Fall Drinking
A Note from Hank:
Hard to fathom that Fall (and harvest) is already here! We’ve been very busy over the last two weeks bringing in grapes, and we are pretty excited by what we are seeing, smelling and tasting so far. The grapes are taking their time to ripen, and it is looking like this year’s wines will be lower in alcohol, and very very tasty! Fermentations are fairly quick this year, and the wines are already starting to show some wonderful flavors. As of today, we are about half-way done, and if the weather cooperates, this will be remembered as a quite pleasant harvest. In the meantime, here are four new wines to get you through the Fall and early Winter months. A delicious Viognier, a new vintage of our skin-macerated Albariño Al Basc, the final vintage of the Piedi Grandi, and a new autumn house wine, B-Sides. Details below.
- Hank, Caro, dogs, cats & goats
La Clarine Farm 2018 Viognier, Sierra Foothills:
Every once in a while, the stars align, the vintage is (nearly) perfect, and the Viognier is flat-out spectacular on its own. Hank saw this immediately as the wine started to ferment. The Viognier fruit was manually harvested, whole cluster pressed and co-fermented in tank with native yeast. The 2018 vintage has amazing aromatics and the perfect balance of exuberance and subtlety. This is an awesome, delicious white for Fall drinking!
La Clarine Farm 2018 ‘Al Basc’ (Albarino Skin Contact), Sierra Foothills:
The 2018 vintage of La Clarine’s skin-fermented and skin-macerated Albariño was whole cluster fermented in an open-top fermented. Hank leaves the wine until the following Spring, then gently racks (no pressing). It was bottled unfined and unfiltered with all of its cloudy, intense glory.
Pairing Notes by Hank:
“The Al Basc is amazingly flexible with a large variety of food choices. We’ve paired it with fish, meat and cheeses, all of them delicious together. I suspect that wines like these will age pretty much forever. We’ve had bottles open for weeks that showed few signs of degradation, but rather gained depth and complexity. (I wouldn’t recommend the “bottle opened for weeks” as a regular practice, though. We experiment so you don’t have to.)”
La Clarine Farm 2017 ‘B-Sides’:
This Mourvedre and Syrah duo came about after Hank had blended together his 2017 Funky Drummer. There were several lots of really delicious wine that didn’t make that blend, so, taking his cue from the musical inspiration already in the air, Hank decided the A-side cut (Funky Drummer) needed a B-Side. Everything was whole cluster fermented and aged in tank before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The B-Sides is bright and full of energy, showing lovely flashes of smoke and soil. There is a slight autumnal feel to the wine, like the warm glow of late afternoon, low-angle sunlight through golden/red tree leaves, spilling through your living room window. This is the perfect red wine for Fall drinking.
La Clarine Farm 2017 ‘Piedi Grandi’ Rouge, Sierra Foothills
Piedi Grandi’s name stems from the first vintage of the wine, which was foot crushed by Hank’s friend and his daughters. The friend, John, is a big dude with big feet. ‘Piedi Grandi’ or big feet was named in honor of him.
For the 2017 vintage, Hank has returned to what he considers to be the ideal ratio of Nebbiolo to Mourvedre - about 60:40. The 60:40 ratio allows the Nebbiolo to show its best characteristics (floral aromas, a bit of tar and roses really, and those amazingly energetic, fine-grained Nebbiolo tannins), while the Mourvèdre plays the important support role (mid-palate presence, approachability, and a bit of spice). In short - the Nebbiolo provides the flash, and the Mourvedre makes it drinkable in your lifetime.
After 2018 provided zero Nebbiolo for La Clarine Farm (thank you so so much, Jack Frost), Hank has decided to take a break from this one. So, this will be the last vintage of the Piedi Grandi for the foreseeable future.Sorry to see it go, but so happy it’s going out on such a high note!