I'm frequently asked how I come to find the wines that we end up selling, and both of this month's selections do a good job of articulating how wine finds its way to me.
Our white this month is a lovely 2021 Dunnigan Hills blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 40% Roussanne, and 20% Viognier. It was made by Craig Colagrassi of Colagrassi Wines, on behalf of JDM Organic Farms, the vineyard where the fruit was grown.
For the last several years, I've featured Dunnigan Hills Picpoul from William Allen of Two Shepherds Wine from this same vineyard. I usually release it around this time of the year, and love the ripping acid you get from a well-made Picpoul.
When I reached out to William maybe 6 weeks back, he regretfully informed me that he wasn't loving the wines he might have sold me, that they were showing a bit of mouse (an unfortunate byproduct of some natural wine production that I particularly dislike). He did introduce me to Craig, however, who works a few doors down from him in a cool winemaking space in the town of Windsor.
Craig buys fruit from the same grower, and put this blend together on their behalf. It's a richly textured white, with deep citrus notes and a bit of nuttiness, and finishes incredibly long. Not as dry as some of our recent whites, I really enjoy this wine chilled down with our without food.
Our red this month is a great small world story. Years ago I hosted an event at the Burton store on Haight Street, and stayed in distant touch with the woman who was my point of contact there. She reached out several months ago to introduce me to some winemaker friends of hers who were seeking advice on e-commerce, and might have some wine to sell.
It turns out they didn't have wine to sell, but they did introduce me to John Mattern of Lost in the Cellar Wines, who made this 2020 Mendocino County Zinfandel that we're featuring this month. I tasted the wine, went back and forth with John, and did some research on his backstory. I could tell he was passionate about organic farming, music, and that he made some amazing wine.
As soon as I wrote last week that new wines had gone live, I got a phone call from my former roommate's Dad. He excitedly informed me that John Mattern is the longtime music teacher at Redwood High School in Marin, and an incredible guy. He lives about 100 miles from the school in Ukiah, and comes down to teach music each week. He stashed up on some extra bottles, and it was a great reminder of the joys of a small world.
This wine gives me everything I'm looking for in California Zin. It's got plenty of fruit (blue, black and red notes), but a bit of brambliness and spice without verging into overripeness or jammy territory. I look forward to sharing a glass with John sometime soon.
Once our new release goes live, you'll be able to purchase more of this wine should we have any left over :)