Made from a blend of Zinfandel, Carignane and Chenin Blanc farmed sustainably in California. Spontaneous fermentation, unfiltered, and unfined, aged in old wooden casks
Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig produce two wines, Populis and Les Lunes Wine. With Populis, they purchase grapes from historic vineyards and multi-generational growers from Mendocino County. These wines are fresh, lively, fruit forward, and made in a playful style. In addition to making wine, they farm and manage over 8 ha of vineyards in Sonoma and Napa and are committed 100% to organic farming and restoring and preserving older and historic vineyards in those counties. Their Les Lunes Wines are made from these vineyards and the top sites from their growers in Mendocino County. The Les Lunes Wines show the more classic, refined, elegant, and ageable side of natural wine.
Their facility is literally the basement of Shaunt’s parents’ house in Orinda, just east of Berkeley. This allows them to produce wine without the interference of other wineries’ yeasts or influences as well as allowing them to age their wine for multiple vintages before release if needed. They are absolutely 100% committed to farming and producing wines organically. They make no additions to the wines save for a small dose of sulfur before bottling if needed, as determined on a barrel by barrel basis.
Grapes: 70% Zinfandel, 20% Carignan, 10% Chenin Blanc
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.
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.
Chenin blanc is a White wine grape variety from the Loire Valley of France. Its high acidity means it can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines. Outside the Loire it is found in most of the New World wine regions; it is the most widely planted variety in South Africa, where it was historically also known as Steen. The grape may have been one of the first to be grown in South Africa by Jan van Riebeeck in 1655, or it may have come to that country with Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Chenin blanc was often misidentified in Australia as well, so tracing its early history in the country is not easy. It may have been introduced in James Busby's collection of 1832, but C. Waterhouse was growing Steen at Highercombe in Houghton, South Australia, by 1862. This grape provides a fairly neutral palate for the expression of terroir, vintage variation and the winemaker's treatment. In cool areas the juice is sweet but high in acid with a full-bodied fruity palate. In the unreliable summers of northern France, the acidity of under ripened grapes was often masked, whereas now the less ripe grapes are made into popular sparkling wines such as Crémant de Loire. The white wines of the Anjou AOC are a popular expression of Chenin as a dry wine, with flavors of quince and apples. In nearby Vouvray AOC they aim for an off-dry style, developing honey and floral characteristics with age. In the best vintages the grapes can be left on the vines to develop noble rot, producing an intense, viscous dessert wine which may improve considerably with age.
Country: United States
Region: Mendocino (California)
The Mendocino County wine is an appellation that designates wine made from grapes grown mostly in Mendocino County, California. The region is part of the larger North Coast AVA and one of California's largest and most climatically diverse wine growing regions. Mendocino County is one of the northernmost commercial wine grape regions in the state with two distinct climate zones separated by the Mendocino Range. Ten American Viticultural Areas have been designated within Mendocino County. Mendocino is one of the leading wine growing regions for organically produced wine grapes. Nearly 25% of the acreage in Mendocino County is grown organically. In 2004, the residents of the county voted to become the first GMO-free county in the United States in an initiative that was supported by many of the county's largest wineries. The county's widespread focus on organic viticulture has inspired journalists to describe it as "California's organic wine Mecca".
Tasting: light bodied, clean and chillable, bright blackberry fruits with zippy acidity
Pairing: Al pastor tacos