2015 Dominique Andiran, Le Ruminant des Vignes, $49
Winery info: Dominique Andiran is based in Côtes de Gascogne, in southwest France. After falling seriously ill from insecticide poisoning, he converted to organic viticulture, a practice still relatively rare in that region. Today he produces his wines as naturally as possible and likes to experiment with different techniques. He has been known to leave wines under a veil of yeast (as in sherry) for up to a decade, just to see what happens. This wine is named for a fossil of a horse-like animal found in one of his vineyards. The label shows a drawing of the animal as imagined by local students.
Grapes: 100% later harvest Gros Manseng. The wine underwent a very slow fermentation, for several months using native yeasts and was aged four years in the bottle.
Vineyard: Dominique sources fruit from his own and from other vineyards throughout the region.
Flavor Profile: As an oxidative wine, this wine is dark in color and has some sherry-like qualities. It is rich and structured with layers of intriguing flavors of dried fruit, nuts, and citrus.
Availability: There is still some of this wine available.
Drinkability: Enjoy now or over the next year or so.
Food Pairing: You could enjoy it as an aperitif, with savory foods such as prosciutto and manchego cheese, or even with less sweet desserts.
2017 Liquid Farm, “SBC” Pinot Noir, $51
Winery info: Liquid Farm was established in 2009 in Lompoc, California. The founders, who had formerly worked in the wine trade, had a passion for Old World wines and wanted to create wines in California that conveyed varietal and regional typicity, from vineyard to glass — in other words “Liquid from Farming.” They remain a small winery but have created a big buzz, garnering attention by critics from Los Angeles to New York. Their focus remains on crafting Old World styled wines from Santa Rita Hills fruit, which they believe can produce world-class wines with excellent balance and acidity.
Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir
Vineyards: 62% Spear, 19% Peake Ranch; 13% Sanford and Benedict; and 6% Radian vineyards, all in the Santa Rita Hills AVA.
Flavor Profile: This Pinot is very elegant and savory, with silky texture and great finesse. It has aromas of savory spice and earth and flavors of ripe red fruit with a hint of wild mushrooms. Very balanced and inviting.
Availability: There is still more of this wine available
Drinkability: Delicious now or over the next few years.
Food Pairing: You could enjoy this Pinot with roasted root vegetables, beet salad, or with savory meat dishes or grilled salmon.