In the Sierra Foothills of Calaveras County, Rorick Vineyard stands out as unusual. The soils are unusual, consisting of a thin layer of topsoil over schist and fragments of the large limestone dolomites that rise in the middle of the property. The vines are unusual, with Albariño planted on a steep downslope at the top western edge of the property. And finally, the grower is unusual, as Matthew Rorick has made a name for himself as a champion of all the "rare creatures" - unusual grape varieties planted in California.
The Rorick Vineyard Albariño is barrel fermented and aged on its lees, leading to an unusually deeply flavored Albariño that maintains its natural acidity.
In 2014, 48 cases of this wine were produced.
Theopolis Vineyard Petite Sirah
On a hillside in the Yorkville Highlands region of Mendocino County, Theopolis Vineyard grows beautiful Petite Sirah grapes. The vineyard is ideally situated to keep acidity as it ripens, resulting in a nuanced and balanced wine that keeps Petite Sirah's natural exuberance.
The Highlawn Wine Company Theopolis Vineyard Petite Sirah is fermented in open-top fermenters with 50% whole cluster, punched down twice a day, and pressed once dry. The wine is then aged for 18+ months in neutral oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Amador County Roussanne
The reddish-brown decomposed granite soils of Amador County are an ideal home for the Roussanne grape. The sun-soaked clime allows Roussanne to take on it's characteristic ruddy hue without building excess sugars.
The 2013 version of the Roussanne was fermented on its skins until reaching dryness, then pressed and aged in neutral oak barrel. The skin-fermentation led to the wine taking on complex and unusual notes, such as watermelon rind and a tartness often associated with sour beers.
Halcón Vineyard Syrah
Halcón Vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands of Mendocino County provides a study of extremes. At 2500 ft., it is one of the highest elevation vineyards in the region and provides spectacular views down the Anderson Valley. Strong winds blow through the vineyard, providing a cooling breeze in the hot times and a blow dry in the wet. Thin, rocky, volcanic soils force the vines to struggle for the nutrients they need. All these extremes translate into a spectacular place to grow Syrah, at place that keeps acid and ripens beautifully.
The Halcón Vineyard Syrah is destemmed and fermented in open top fermenters until being pressed at dryness. The wine is aged in neutral oak until being bottled unfined and unfiltered.