Farmstrong 2016 Field Rosé (Carignane, Zinfandel)
Loaded with vibrant lively fruits, it is summer in a glass: ripe strawberries, honey tangerine, camellia blossom. This wine is inviting, happy, easy going and relaxing…like a walk in the park on a sunny day.
I couldn’t be more thrilled with the purity and focus of the wine, she is pretty in pink…but not afraid to show her serious side.
The Farmstrong Field Rosé is the result of an intentional rosé program, picked expressly for rosé and 100% whole cluster pressed.
This blend is from two vineyard sites in northern Mendocino’s Redwood Valley: Carignane from the 80 year old vines in Hawkeye Ranch (45%), Zinfandel(55%) from 65 year old vine in Knox Vineyard. Both these vineyard sites are farmed by the Johnsons, who are 5th generation growers and true stewards of the land.
The Carignane and Zinfandel are picked several weeks before I pick them for the Field Red. The Carignane and Zinfandel press juice was cold settled and then racked and combined as juice and a native fermentation was carried out, all as one lot. After dryness the rosé was aged in neutral French oak and received lees stirring until the wines was bottled in the spring.
The fruit from both the Carignane and Zinfandel is balanced and beaming with bright flavors at lower sugars, allowing me to harvest at lower sugars and retain the lovely natural acidity, vibrant red fruits and floral notes. By gently pressing whole clusters, extraction is very delicate, allowing her soft pretty nature to shine through.
Farmstrong 2015 Field White (Grenache Blanc, Albariño, Verdelho)
The Farmstrong White Field blend is fragrant yet a little mysterious, a mélange of white peach, star fruit, Mirabelle plum and even a shiso/Meyer lemon tart. It’s fresh, vibrant and alive—a dancing lemon drop enjoyed under the light of a full moon.
This wine is a year round white wine, pretty and inviting on the nose, round and full mid palate, while still being light on her feet, she is easy to get along with and super well rounded.
Both vineyards and all three varieties were picked and pressed as one lot to add complexity and integrate the components for a dynamic blend.
The lot was a native fermentation and it was carried out at cool temperatures allowing for a slow and steady fermentation that lasted over a month. After dryness the wine was aged in neutral French oak and received lees stirring. The wine was then left to settle until it was bottled in the summer.
These vineyards sites and varieties all play an important role in forming this blend. Kings site allows the Grenache Blanc to fully mature at lower ripeness, thus developing complex aromatics and soft tannins while retaining vibrancy. The Babcock site has a large diurnal shift which allows for incredible acid retention in the Albariño along with that maritime influence so important in classic Albariño sites. The site also provides enough daytime sunshine to ripen the Verdelho to express its tropical and stone fruit side while maintaining vibrancy and focus.
In addition, I am picking each variety at markedly different ripeness levels, using my favorite characteristics of each variety to work together achieve harmony and depth as a blend.
Farmstrong 2015 Field Red (Carignane, Syrah)
This wine fills the glass with aromas of dark fruit, pencil shavings, grilled bread and hints of freshly ground white pepper, which are complemented by flavors of black plums, preserves, cranberry and warm Okanagan cherry clafouti that’s been cooked in a cast iron pan.
This wine has loads of fruit, mellow tannins and complex aromatics, it is a go-to red, she is super fun and refreshingly reliable.
This is a blend from three of my growers and they are all sustainably dry farmed sites: 80+ years old Carignane from Hawkeye Ranch and 65+ year old Zinfandel from Knox Vineyard in Redwood Valley (53%), 120+ years old Carignane from Casa Roja Vineyard in Contra Costa (28%), Syrah from Ledgewood Vineyard in Suisun Valley (19%).
Both the Carignane lots were 90% de-stemmed and 10% whole cluster, they were fermented in open top stainless steel tanks with punch downs. I included 33% whole cluster fermentation in this Syrah lot and it was fermented in an open top fermenter (with pigeage by yours truly), this added a complexity that I am really excited about. After the native fermentation was finished the wines were put to barrel and aged in 9% once-used oak and 91% neutral French oak. Once secondary (native malolactic) fermentation was complete the barrel selected blend was racked together, becoming Farmstrong Field Red. The wine was put back to barrel for a total elevage of 10 months before being bottled in the summer.
All three of the vineyard sites where the grapes of this blend are grown have a large diurnal temperature shift. This is a key element that allows the fruit to be balanced and beaming with flavor at lower sugars, allowing me to harvest earlier and retain the lovely natural acidity, vibrant red fruits and floral notes.