Chris Brockway - La Boutanche - Red Blend - 2019 - Liter

Chris Brockway - La Boutanche - Red Blend - 2019 - Liter

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Clean, fresh, juicy blackberry, black cherry, spice and herbs

The 2019 is a blend from the steeply sloped, iron-rich, Arrowhead Vineyard just north of the town of Sonoma. The vineyard is farmed organically and without sulfur. This field blend is a mix of Zinfandel, Trousseau, Valdiguié, and tiny amounts of Sangiovese and Grenache Gris. The grapes are fermented whole cluster then racked into neutral barrels where they rest for nine months before bottling in generous liter bottles with screwcaps for easy access.

Farming: 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.

About La Boutanche (from the importer):When we were first starting out, we quickly became disappointed with the lack of good natural wine in the $20 range. Not being the kind of people to say ‘well, it is what it is’, we got to work thinking about how we could remedy this situation. So, we started talking with our producers and, already knowing what we wanted - native yeast fermentations, low or zero SO2 additions, and the like; basically pure unadulterated glou glou that we could put into a liter-sized screw-top bottle and would be a great introduction to natural wine - it didn’t take long for us to find winemakers who were willing to partner with us on this project.

Grapes: Mostly Zinfandel with a field blend of other red grapes

Zinfandel is a fruit forward, bold red that's loved for it's jammy fruit and smoky, exotic spice notes. Originating in Croatia, Zinfandel is related to the Croatian grape, Plavic Mali. California grows far more of the variety than anywhere else, nearly 48,000 acres in 2012. This vine was imported (likely unnamed) to the US from Austria in 1829 by George Gibbs of Long Island. He took it to Boston and by 1830s it had acquired the name Zinfandel by New England growers. After the California gold rush of 1849, many turned to agriculture, and were initially dependent on shipments of plant material from the east coast. 'Zinfandal' was included in a particularly important shipment that arrived in 1852 and by 1859, the variety was grown in both Napa and Sonoma.

Country: United States
Region: Sonoma Valley (California)

Sonoma County is a major wine-producing region north of San Francisco. Hundreds of vineyards, ranging from small, family-run estates to international wineries, are set amid its rolling hills and valleys, including Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley. The region is also home to wilderness areas such as Armstrong Redwoods State Preserve and sandy beaches, many of which frame Bodega Bay.

Tasting: Clean, fresh, juicy blackberry, black cherry, spice and herbs