LA CLARINE FARM
Hank Beckmeyer and Caroline Hoel started La Clarine Farm back in 2001. Hank’s approach to farming and winemaking are refreshingly void of mysticism and gimmick.
After being Demeter Certified, he came across the works of Masanobu Fukuoka and realized biodynamics was still focused on treating symptoms. He has cut out fertilizer and sprays (organic or otherwise) almost entirely. He works with fruit from his own vineyard as well as a couple of his neighbours high in the Sierra Foothills.
In the winery he has eschewed sulphur, crushes most of the grapes by foot, uses dominantly whole clusters, ages his wines in neutral vessels and bottles without fining nor filtration. Fermentation is carried out exclusively with wild yeasts; if it takes a long time to ferment, it really isn’t the end of the world.
This particular cuvée arose from pure serendipity. Initially, the slow fermenting tank of Albariño was going to become this vintage’s Pet-Nat but due to a shortage of sparkling wine bottles, they opted to hold off. Eventually the solution presented itself: a small lot of Marsanne that had been sitting on the skins for five months. The two unlikely partners were blended and a new wine was born. Sparkling wine acidity meets orange wine robustness. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered. 11.7% ABV
(77 Cases Produced) 793000
Unlike most Californian rosés, the grapes for this project were intentionally farmed for the style. Methods like slightly heavier crops and more leaf cover in the fruiting zone yield more delicate fruit. Syrah (50%), Mourvèdre (42%), and Counoise (8%) are foot crushed and quickly pressed off into a combination of tank and an old 600L oak barrel. The two components were blended after eight months on lees. It was bottle aged for nine further months before release. 12.5% ABV
(246 Cases Produced) 792999
Tempranillo is one of the many grapes you’ll find in Matthew Rorick’s vineyard, high in the Sierra Foothills. It uniquely has a combination of limestone and schist soils which tends to help the grapes retain potent acidity. They come from the lower, cooler sites. The grapes are foot crushed as whole clusters along with 5% Albariño in open top fermenters. Elevage was done in a combination of puncheon and flex-tank. The wine underwent one racking before bottling, unfined and unfiltered with only 20ppm of sulphur. 13.2% ABV
(355 Cases Produced) 792998
SUMU KAW SYRAH
These Syrah vines are perched at 3000 feet above sea level. The soils are volcanic loam which inevitably adds structure to the wine. They harvested quite early (September 4th ) to retain freshness. The grapes are crushed whole-cluster, by foot, in open-top fermenters. Elevage was done in a combination of puncheon and flex-tank. The wine underwent one racking before bottling, unfined and unfiltered with only 20ppm of sulphur. 12.7% ABV
(220 Cases Produced) 792997
Jambalaia is an oddball cuvée of both red and white grapes (59% Mourvedre, 21% Marsanne, 15% Grenache, 5% Syrah). After a tannic 2014 vintage, this marks a shift back towards early drinking. Whole clusters were added to the fermenter and crushed by foot. About a week later the wine was pressed off its skins and fermentation continued in open top bins. After a while in tank the wine was bottle unfixed and unfiltered with a modest 20ppm of SO2. 11.7% ABV
(500 Cases Produced) 786680
Sometimes disaster yields the best wines. The King Fire of 2014 stopped harvesters dead in their tracks before they could harvest the Mariposa vineyard for La Clarine’s Josephine+Mariposa blend. Fortunately the co-fermentation of Cinsault (16%) and Grenache (84%) from Josephine was divine so they bottled it as a new cuvée. Whole clusters were added to the tank and fermented on the skins for five days before being pressed off into flex-tank where it spent the next sixteen months without racking. It was then bottled without finning nor filtration and just a pinch of SO2 (15ppm). 14.4% ABV
(206 Cases Produced) 786682
This wine is a field blend of Mourvedre (52%) and Nebbiolo (48%). It was harvested in two passes, the results of which were blended after pressing. This was then aged in flex tank for sixteen months without racking. It was bottled without finning for filtration. SO2 was once again used only at bottling and was a mere 15ppm. 13.8% ABV
(153 Cases Produced) 786683
The grapes for this wine were harvested from Mathew Rorick’s vineyard. Mathew is the owner and winemaker at Forlorn Hope and is a short ride away from La Clarine. The limestone and schist soils here undoubtably contribute to the zesty acidity. The wine was fermented and aged in flex tanks on the lees for ten months. Fermentation started quick but was sluggish through the cool winter. Malolactic conversion finished before alcoholic fermentation. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration. No sulphur was added to this wine until bottling (20ppm). 12.5% ABV
(195 Cases Produced) 786681