Sunday, February 17, 2013

On Doing Nothing

Thank God there's a new wave of California winemakers making wine where nothing is added and nothing is taken away. 

Hank and Caroline Beckmeyer of La Clarine Farm, which is located at 2600 feet in California's Sierra Nevada Foothills, have throughout the past decade been moving toward doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. Their inspiration comes from Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer-philopher whose ideas were translated as "do nothing farming." Hank thinks either the phrase was badly translated or Fukuoka had a wicked sense of humor. What it means to him is not doing anything unnecessary; basically working with rather than against nature in the vineyard to produce grapes, and beyond that, simply crushing the grapes to make the wine.  
The Beckmeyers prefer to use their feet, as does Michael Christian in the San Diego area, who started Los Pilares with three co-conspirators a few years after Clarine Farm began to bring it on. Neither want to see much sulfur in their bottlings, which stylistically produces a wine so fresh and fruity you'd mistake it blind for other terroirs for sure. Keep your eyes open though because the colors are beautiful, vivid, and the quantities less than miniscule.
La Clarine Farm Mourvedre "suma kaw" 2011, $25
La Clarine Farm Syrah "suma kaw" 2011, $25
Los Pilares Grenache/Syrah 2011, $26
One bottle of each for $69 while they last!