Bedrock Rocks!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 4:56 PM


Bedrock Wine Co.


Congratulations Morgan Twain-Peterson!

Morgan Twain-Peterson, proprietor of Bedrock Wine Co., recently became the first winemaker from California to become a Master of Wine. He is one of only 45 MWs from the United States. That is quite an achievement in and of itself, and yet consider the fact that during the time he was working towards becoming a Master of Wine, he was also building Bedrock Wine Co. - Wow!   I jumped on the Bedrock Wine Co. bandwagon from the start. My admiration was instantaneous and The Wine House has been rewarded for our support of Bedrock wines in the way of allocations. We are proud to carry a wide selection of Bedrock wines,from the vineyard-designated reds to the experimental blends. 

What I recognized early on, was Morgan's devotion to the vineyard. Morgan seeks out to use, but also essentially to preserve, old-vine vineyards. I too have a respect and affinity for the unique character of Zinfandel-based field blends.Without advocates like Morgan, these special, historic vineyards would undoubtedly be lost. I understand that what I am about to write is scientifically unprovable, but in 
Morgan's wines, I can taste that, well, love for the vineyard.
 

 Bedrock Vineyard: photo courtesy of BWC website


Their flagship wine (or at least that's how I see it) at Bedrock is The Bedrock Heritage. The Bedrock Vineyard has a long and storied history that can trace its grape growing roots well over a hundred years. It is a sizeable vineyard that sits in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. There are well over 30 different varieties growing at Bedrock Vineyard. In the 2015 Bedrock Heritage there are 19 different varieties (perhaps even more) that go into the wine, dominated by Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouchet. A true, classic Californian field blend. Morgan writes that "Bedrock Vineyard is always going to have orange-scented perfume and rooted tannins". It's a full-scale red that is tasty in all its exuberant youth, but can also rest in the cellar. It really is a taste of California's wine history.

Words fail me to describe the emotions felt since fires ravaged Northern California. I am certain that we all know at least someone touched by this catastrophe.Living here in Northern California all my life, I am aware of the dangers of wildfire, but this was like nothing imaginable. As I learned about the losses to wineries and vineyards, I reflected on what I value most about being in the wine business. It comes down to the people and the land. It is indeed, people like Morgan who pursue winemaking, not just as commerce, but as a way of honoring the past and preserving our heritage, that inspires me. There are fewer and fewer of these precious old vines in California. I am grateful to those who champion these agricultural treasures.  Check out our full line-up of Bedrock wines to explore and taste these historic sites. - Anya Balistreri

From the Winery:

"The 2015 is a svelte lumberjack but a true lumberjack—not the soft-handed, urbane, hipster type, nor the Monty Python cross-dresser (though if that is what it wants to be when it grows up, that is just fine with me!).  A wine that is well-built, a little gruff at first, but full of nuance, soft eyes, and a well-hewn heart."

 

From the Winery:

"This wine, a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Negrette, Carignan, Grenache, Trousseau Noir and many more, is dark and lovely stuff.  Definitely give it some time- either in the cellar or the decanter as time and/or air will help it to unfold."

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2014 Bedrock Zinfandel

Monday, August 8, 2016 6:15 PM

 
 
“The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco” is famously attributed to Mark Twain, yet there is no evidence he ever wrote or muttered these words. Nonetheless, the quote holds true. San Francisco has been blanketed by a deep and chilling marine layer. It’s Summer in the City! Driving to the store this morning, I had to turn on my windshield wipers just as I passed through the Robin Williams Tunnel and could see the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. Oh, how I love this view!
 
Pagani Ranch
 
Shifting over to wine, there happens to be a winemaker, also named Twain, or more accurately, Morgan TWAINPeterson, who has been delivering some of the finest Zinfandel in the state. I’ve been singing his praises from his very first vintage, and like a proud mother (Morgan and my daughter happen to share the same birthday – how sweet is that!), have been telling anyone who would listen to try his Bedrock Wine Co. wines. The series of wines he makes from old vine, field blend vineyards are not just delicious but are a way of honoring these historic sites.Regrettably, the economics of producing wine has all too often led folks to rip out old vineyards containing Zinfandel, and who knows what else, that were planted by immigrants wanting to create a taste of home. Morgan has worked diligently to identify, restore and preserve these sites by founding the Historic Vineyard Society.
 
2014 Old Vine Zinfandel
 
Lucky for us, Morgan makes an Old Vine Zinfandel that is on par with his heritage vineyard wines in quality, but is more budget friendly. Morgan writes that the Old Vine Zinfandel is “perhaps the most important wine we make” because there is more of it than the limited production and highly allocated, single-vineyard Zinfandels, and therefore acts as an introduction to the winery. The Old Vine Zinfandel is also “an invaluable tool” because a few of the vineyards that go into this cuveé were neglected, old vineyards that Morgan has nursed back to life that are not quite ready for individual designation. The multiple vineyard sources that go into the 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel include Bedrock, Papera and Pagani Ranch. Aged in French oak barrels, the 2014 Old Vine is a tremendous value for full-throttle, well-balanced Zinfandel. Though I think most people will end up drinking this wine sooner than later, Morgan writes that he is pretty convinced “that it will age gracefully for over a decade”.
 
 
Naked Ladies along the fence
 

Without looking at a calendar, I know August has arrived.The night-filling sound of chirping crickets that lull me to sleep is my first clue. The second clue are the naked ladies that line up along my driveway. Naked ladies? Yes, naked ladies, aka Belladonna Amaryllis, those gorgeous, lightly-scented pink flowers that erupt from the ground, unadorned by foliage. And the third clue is the market arrival of my favorite apples, Gravensteins – tangy, sweet and crunchy! I’ll be heading north this weekend to escape the marine layer and get a little wine country action under my belt. For Sunday’s dinner on the deck, I am contemplating grilled tri tip with the 2014 Old Vine Zinfandel. Now doesn’t that sound like a proper summer meal! – Anya Balistreri

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Poco a Poco Zinfandel
Zinfandel reached American shores approximately 200 years ago. Soon after arriving, Zinfandel travelled west to California where it flourished, achieved success and has become so respected and adored that it is now commonly accepted to refer to it as America’s grape. A true American wine tale. I understood its allure early in my wine life. Zinfandel makes a wine that is easy to grasp and appreciate. The flavors are bold and forward; the pleasure is immediate. For me the connection is Zinfandel + Russian River = family + summer + good times. That’s why to mark the unofficial start of summer, a bottle of Zinfandel will trek up north with me to the family dacha this weekend. What will I be toting along? Poco a Poco’s 2014 Russian River Zinfandel.
 
Winemaker Luke Bass
Poco a Poco is a line of wines made by Luke Bass of Porter Bass Vineyards. Luke sources organic grapes along with his own biodynamically grown grapes to make easy, immediately accessible, well-crafted wine at more than fair prices. Thinking about this now, I can’t really come up with too many other producers who are deliberately using grapes of this quality to make value-priced wine on a small scale. Maybe there is no glory in it or probably the economics don’t play out well enough. All this means is that this wine buyer spends a lot of time combing through offers, meeting with vendors and keeping her eyes and ears open to who’s doing what to find such a gem.
 
Luke and Son on tractor
The 2014 Zinfandel is sourced from the Forchini family that owns a 24 acre vineyard 1/2 mile east of the Russian River just south of Limerick Lane. The vineyard is farmed organically. Luke, as he does with all his wine, approaches winemaking by celebrating the grape. For this Zinfandel, he fermented the grapes with native yeast andaged the wine in neutral French oak. Pretty straightforward, if you ask me. The resulting wine capturesthe zesty berry burst of Zinfandel allowing the tanginess of the fruit to emerge. Not soupy or marred by oak notes, this is a resoundingly bright natured Zinfandel. The inherent acidity will play nicely at the table, especially with bold-flavored grilled fare and won’t shy away from American barbecue.
 
Hacienda Bridge
I called my mom to find out what was on the menu for the family get-together dinner. She said “the usual Zaharoff cook-out…Bulgogi, rice, fresh cabbage salad, bean sprouts salad and a bunch of other stuff”. For years growing up I thought the classic Korean Bulgogi was actually a Russian dish. It is not a far stretch to imagine how a Russian immigrant family came to adopt classic Korean dishes as their own and turning it into their American tradition, serving it on National Holidays at family gatherings. I am excited to see how the Poco a Poco Zinfandel will soak up the savory flavors of the rum-marinated beef and sesame seed oil seasoned salads. I think its going to be a sensational pairing. And yes, Kon, I really am bringing a bottle of this wine to the River! – Anya Balistreri
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2011 Papa’s All-Blacks

Saturday, September 7, 2013 5:53 PM

 

For many of us, Labor Day Weekend marks the end of summer. Why bid adieu so early? I would like to assert that summer is in fact in effect for yet another 3 weeks! Grape harvest is in full swing in California, I’ve been glued to my Instagram account following the dramatic journey from vineyard to winery to juice. Outside I’ve noticed early mornings are nippier, the sultry Naked Ladies lilies that erupt in August are withering dry, and trees are dropping leaves in greater numbers.The transition from summer to fall shouts out for Zinfandel! Therefore, I present to you an exciting new project spearheaded by Mady Peterson and executed by her husband Joel and his son Morgan Twain-Peterson, the 2011 Papa’s All Blacks. 

 

Papa’s All-Blacks was named to honor the tradition of the early “field blends” of the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Back then grape growers planted a mix of grape varieties and co-fermented them. The grape varieties included mostly black-skinned grapes, notably Zinfandel, with a smidgeon of white grapes. These “field blends” that survived are now our greatest old-vine vineyards. Many growers who are dedicated to preserving and promoting these vineyards have also taken to reproduce them with original cuttings. Joel Peterson, founder of Ravenswood, has championed these vineyards for decades. His son Morgan, no stranger to TWH with his delectable Bedrock Wine Co. and Lacuna wines, is such an advocate of these precious old vineyards, he formed the non-profit Historic Vineyard Society. Together, they have created a wine that looks to these field blends as benchmarks. The 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks is approximately 60% Zinfandel with Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Carignane in the balance sourced from old-vine vineyards all located in Northern California. The grapes were fermented in small open-top fermenters using native yeast and then aged in 25% new French oak barrels. This is a wonderfully supple, rounded red that imparts the zesty-ness of Zinfandel and is augmented with added depth by the other varietals. The fruit is a harmonious blend of plum and brambly fruit and the aromas sing out with berry notes and a floral flare. You could tuck this away for a bit, but I think the temptation to drink up the 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks right now is way too strong! 

 

The long weekend couldn’t have come at a better time now that school has started and schedules have been re-shuffled; I am in need of some down time. What better a way than a day spent at the beach followed by dinner with la familia under the Redwoods drinking a robust red like the 2011 Papa’s All-Blacks?
Good times! Speaking of good times … made it to The Mayflower in San Rafael’s lovely West End district to catch our very own Pete Z. shred it up with his band, Over Time, to kick off his 3 week long BirthdayFest. The man sure knows how to celebrate! Cheers to you! —Anya Balistreri
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Storybook Mountain Vineyards’ Zinfandels are my kind of Zinfandels. I like to be able to taste the fruit.  All too often in the attempt to extract as much power as possible, Zinfandels are pushed overboard so that alcohol and structure mask the intrinsic charm of Zinfandel – its fruit. A Zinfandel that doesn’t bowl you over isn’t necessarily a wimpy wine or one lacking in concentration. A balanced Zinfandel will, however, reward the wine drinker with nuance, layers of flavors and compatibility with food. The 2009 Mayacamas Range from Storybook Mountain is such a Zinfandel. A welcoming floral note greets the senses and moves on to cool dark raspberry fruit, hints of soil and juicy acidity on the palate. It is a silky Zinfandel that glides on and on. 
Owner/winemaker Jerry Seps explained to me that the unique soil of his vineyards along with their eastern exposure and location in the coolest part of the Napa Valley, in the hillsides north of Calistoga, all contribute to the retention of vivid aromatics and the snappy fruit of his wines. The Aiken series clay soil that is found at Storybook Mountain Vineyards is quite rare in Napa and has a distinctive red color. The clay is volcanic in origin and rich in magnesium and iron. The Seps farm without herbicides or insecticides and are certified organic. Dr. Seps’ approach to winemaking, just like others whom I admire that work intimately with the vineyard, is to preserve the freshness of the fruit by basically standing out of the way. I was overcome by a feeling of familiarity when I last tasted the 2009 Mayacamas Range Zinfandel, like I was catching up with an old friend I haven’t seen in years – quickly falling back into laughter, inside jokes and intimacy. I think this emotional response comes from tasting a wine – one I’ve tasted many times over the years – that is sight specific and expressive of place. It tasted familiar because the Mayacamas Range Zinfandel from Storybook Mountain Vineyards will always have a constant at its core despite vintage variations. It’s no wonder Wine & Spirits Magazine has named Storybook Mountain Vineyards one of the Top 100 Wineries in the World nine times! 
School’s out in a few days, summer is just around the corner and I’m starting to plan my next patio party. I’ll likely have my hubby grill something up, while I’ll handle the salads and sides. To complete my summer dinner party, a bottle of Zinfandel must grace the table. I won’t want one that will assault my senses. No way! That’s why I’ll be taking home a bottle of the 2009 Mayacamas Range Zinfandel from Storybook Mountain Vineyards. Sounds heavenly! —Anya Balistreri
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