Ongoing drought, and a return to former glory. Like the previous two vintages, 2022 was severely impacted by the absence of winter rains. This resulted in another very small crop with miniaturized clusters--the ones growers hate (who get paid on weight) and winemakers love (who can make better wines). Since drought appears to be the "new normal" in California, we worked in the offseason to procure more acreage of this precious Old Vine Carignan from Rory and Vince Bartolomei. We offered to pay them more for their prized fruit in exchange for a bigger stake in the vineyard. The net result: the Barto Bros. got a fair market price for their fruit, and LIOCO brought home 18.9 tons of pristine, manicured Rosé grapes. In doing so, we reclaimed this wine as a single vineyard expression--something we were unable to do the past couple of years.
The 2022 vintage was...complicated. In short, it was a near perfect growing year until Labor Day Weekend when a "heat dome" event changed the calculus. The entire West Coast saw a week of unprecedented temperatures, punctuated by a September rain a few days later. That all said, these octogenarian Carignan vines weathered it extremely well. In fact, there was almost no sign of stress on the fruit itself owing in part to a healthier canopy and more shading this year.
The fruit came in on the mornings Sept 10th and 12th, with textbook chemistry: 20 brix / 3.2 pH / 7.0 g/L and finished with 12.5% abv. To manage color uptake on these smaller clusters, we elected not to crush the fruit before pressing it. This direct-to-press method reduced our juice yield but gave us a pale salmon colored wine with a depth of flavor we haven't seen in a few years. The hallmark characteristics are there--the white strawberry, guava jelly, crushed chalk, rosemary blossom...but Sara noted something *new* in the wine...a mouthwatering tangerine oil note (!)
This Old Vine Carignan Rosé is special. It's crushable for sure, but it's serious enough to bring to a summer dinner party. We have allocated 100 cases for the mailing list.
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