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Scribe 2015 Pinot Noir Carneros
Scribe 2015 Pinot Noir Carneros
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- Overall, the 2015 vintage will be described as “an early harvest with low grape yields of good quality”. It marked California’s fourth straight year of drought, and this ongoing water shortage took its toll on most CA vineyards. Cooler regions like Carneros fared better than the warmer regions up valley, where heat spikes led to raisining prior to harvest.
- The wine is composed of equal parts of two California heritage clones ideal for the region’s dense clay: Martini (one of my favorite Pinot Clones) and Pommard. The Martini grapes add spice and fresh, high tones that complement Pommard’s natural earthiness. Vinification begins by fermenting with native, wild yeast in concrete or steel tanks, then aging in neutral oak barrels for about six months. The wine expresses a soft, delicate touch and feel.
- The Scribe Winery tale begins with a charming young entrepreneur named Andrew Mariani and a storied piece of land—home, most recently, to a turkey farm—located about three miles east of the Sonoma town square. A mile-long driveway lined with palm trees leads to a decrepit hacienda built a century ago by two bootlegger brothers from Germany. Acres and acres of brush and cactus surround impeccably trellised grapevines. Andrew and his brother, Adam, see themselves as scribes of their land, and the Scribe winery is the result of their labor.
One of their primary goals is embodied in what they call “Forever Wild Farming”, which integrates their vineyard into the existing ecosystem of the land. Together with winemakers Kristof Anderson (Nils Venge’s protegé) and Andrew Avellar, the Mariani brothers have banned the use of chemicals on the property. The team also works to increase the biodiversity of their land by encouraging natural species to thrive alongside the vines. Why do all this? Andrew emphasizes these difficult choices must produce wines that faithfully represent their origins (wines that express this “sense of place”, aka terroir) and sustains the land in a way that enriches rather than depletes it.
- In 1858, the son of a famous German champagne producer named Emil Dresel purchased the land and started a vineyard with cuttings he had smuggled into the country on his maiden voyage in 1849, when half the world Headed to San Francisco to seek fame and fortune in California’s gold rush. His brother Julius joined him in 1869 and the outspoken duo were known to be fervent abolitionists, aggressive gamblers, occasional outlaws, and viticultural pioneers. Flamboyant behavior aside, the vineyard was a great success and in 1904, under the eye of Julius' son Carl, Dresel wines received first place in the red and white wine categories at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO.
But after these enjoyable decades of success, the winery crumbled in 1920 with the enactment of Prohibition. The family burned the Dresel Wine Co. bond in protest but the hacienda continued to serve up tasty beverages and rowdy good times.
With the help of the San Francisco police force, the property served as a byline for bootleggers to transport their goods, as well as a password-protected speakeasy. On a dark night one need only whisper, “Julius sent me” at the building’s back entrance. Inside, you’d find a maze of whiskey, music, wine, and for the right price, a young lady to show you upstairs, where the hacienda ran an altogether different business.
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