Cabernet is destemmed, with a small amount left as whole clusters to line the bottom of the tank. Fermented spontaneously and pressed off the skins early to minimize the tannins, though there is still some good structure here. The Carignan, fermented carbonically to add freshness, is blended in right before bottling.
Farming: Certified organic
Chris Brockaway grew up in Omaha and attended the University of Nebraska. After college, in the mid-1990s, he spent time in Omaha restaurants, then in Seattle, where he began to take an interest in wine. When a friend suggested - only half-seriously - that he should learn to make it, Brockway packed up his stuff and moved to California to take classes at UC Davis. He ended up getting sidetracked by a girl and followed her to Los Angeles, where he spent a number of years editing "bad TV promos."
But Brockway never lost sight of his just-do-it mentality, or his faint Midwestern twang. He decided against finishing his Davis coursework and he decamped for Cal State Fresno, which had its own functioning winery. He finished the school's enology program and got a job at JC Cellars, where he recalls having fermenters with 10 different strains of commercial yeast and various additives. But around the same time, Brockway became fascinated with Terroir, the San Francisco wine bar, which rekindled his interest in the types of wine that intrigued him after he read Patrick Matthew's book "Real Wine."He started experimenting with small batches of his own wine and hasn't stopped since.
At his quaint 1,400-square-foot facility, most wine is fermented outside in decapitated 5-ton wood casks he got gratis from Domaine Chandon. The rest goes into either steel or concrete. He uses a minimum of the preservative sulfur dioxide and buys fruit from cooler sites, most of which are farmed organically.
Grapes: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon + 5% Carbonic Carignan (145 year old vines!)
Carignan is a late ripening black skin variety which was once so widely planted in Languedoc-Roussillon that it was France's most planted vine for much of the 19th century. Because of it's late ripening habits, Carignan can only thrive in relatively hot climates. The vine has been important in the Americas. There were about 3,300 acres in California's hotter regions in 2012 as the vine's productivity and vigor is valued by growers.
Country: United States
Region: Solano County, California
The grapes come from 70+ year-old vines in Solano County’s Green Valley. Solano County’s Green Valley area is tucked between Napa and Suisun Valley where the grapes of each vineyard grow in sandy loam soils and come from dry-farmed and head-pruned vines. The Solano County Green Valley vineyards practice non-certified organic farming.
This wine is a homage to the historic clairet wines of Bordeaux. It’s a light, fresh, chill-able red with bright, pure fruit and light tannins.
Recommended pairings: Ratatouille, grilled chicken or pork