Saturday, February 23, 2013

2011 Bedrock Wine Company Pagani Ranch Heritage Wine

Bedrock is a different sort of winery.  It starts right from their own description on their website which states, "Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop," and it gets better from there. They even state some unique and interesting objectives on their website, many of which are in line with what I'm looking for:

  • To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.
  • To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.
  • To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.
  • To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.
  • To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.
  • To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.
  • To dream big but keep production low!

  • I only wish that more California wineries were thinking this way.  California has so much great terroir, but so little of it actually makes it to the average consumer.  There are simply too many places in California where its easy to make boring but OK wine at a low cost that appeals to the casual consumer who is more interested in brand or varietal than in place or terroir.

    Unlike the winery itself, Bedrock's lineage is not all that small.  Winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson literally grew up in a winery.  His father Joel Peterson is the man behind the much bigger and better known Ravenswood Winery.  Morgan was exposed to wine at an early age, and today he is using that background and knowledge to make unique and interesting varietal wines and blends. 

    The Pagani Ranch Heritage Wine is a true, old fashioned field blend.   Made up of approximately 65% Zinfandel with the rest primarily Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Grand Noir, Carignane, and Mourvedre that is all picked and fermented together, this wine is a throwback to the days before California became obsessed with single varietal wines. 

    In your glass, the Pagani Ranch Heritage is deep purple in color.  The bouquet brings aromas of cherry, black raspberry, and a little dried plum with a wonderful but mild funk to it.  On the palate, you get black cherry and blackberry fruit with a good dose of tannins and excellent acidity.  This is a wine that has enough balance from all the different elements to break my general rule of not liking wines that are 15% alcohol or more.  All the flavors, tannins, and acid linger around for quite some time after each sip, which makes this very interesting wine that much more enjoyable. 

    From a pairing standpoint, I think this is surprisingly food friendly given the high alcohol.  It would be great with good old fashioned, smoky BBQ or any grilled red meats.  It would also pair beautifully with a roaring fire on a cold winter night. 

    Overall. its not an everyday wine at $37/bottle, but it is an excellent example of what place rather than manipulation can bring to a great wine.  If I were tasting this blind, I would bet big money that it was from the south of France from someplace like the Languedoc or even Bandol.  It is very nice stuff with that little bit of delicious funk and complexity that makes you not only enjoy, but also contemplate each delicious sip.