San Francisco, California
Bryan Harrington is one of San Francisco’s most exciting urban natural winemakers. When he started in 2002, the focus was on Pinot Noir, sourcing sustainable old-vine fruit from some of California’s most prestigious sites. But since then the concept has steadily broadened to encompass other varietals, many obscure and unusual, along with some creative blends. He seeks out and sources from heritage vineyards around the state, some well known and some forgotten. From an industrial facility in Bayview, San Francisco, where Bryan collaborates each year with friends and wine enthusiasts, now flow arcane gems like Trousseau, Mission, and Corvina. All Harrington Wines are made with little or no SO2 and some of the sources are remarkable, including a 125 year old vineyard planted mainly toZinfandel but is a true mixed field blend with old vine Grenache, Mourvèdre, Alicante Bouschet, Mission, Palomino and even Chasselas.
Linke to the Wine Enthusiast for nice article on Bryan Harrington bringing rare grapes to California.
Follow The Vinguard for an excellent piece on Bryan Harrington's start and growth as a winemaker.
Harrington Mission `Somers Vineyard` Lodi 2017
From very old Mission vines of unknown age located near Mokeluma River in Lodi. The vines have extraordinarily large trunks and are trained on double overhead canopies. 60% of the grapes were pressed by foot. 40% of the wine was fermented carbonically in stainless steel and plastic macrobins. No added yeasts. After fermentation, the wine was aged for four months in stainless steel and French oak. Minimal SO2 added before bottling. This is stunning. Ripe and juicy with a delicate color, high toned fruit flavors and a smoky, almost volcanic minerality. Saline finish with fine tannins. Organic. Mission is always best served with a bit of a chill.
Amarela Red Blend (Alicante Bouchet, Trincadeira, Tinta Roriz), 2015
A savory blend of Alicante Bouschet, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, and Trincadeira. The vineyard is a field blend located in Lodi with the vines having been replanted in 2004. Fermentation took place in macrobins for 21 days followed by ten months in neutral French oak. The wine features aromas of cherry, cedar, violet and smoked meats. The wine is dense and velvety with a lingering finish. Sustainable.
Trousseau `Siletto Vineyard` San Benito County 2017
Vineyard: Located southeast of Hollister in a remote valley of the Gavilan Mountains, the Siletto Vineyard is an on-going experimental site for odd and unusual wine grapes. Numerous French and Italian varieties such as Sagrantino, Montepulciano and Gamay have been planted on a steep, south-facing hillside just north of the San Benito River. The well-drained soil of this vineyard is a fortuitous mix of clay, limestone and granite from the surrounding Gavilan Mountains and helps build sturdy structure and carry into Siletto Vineyard wines. The Trousseau was planted in 1994 utilizing a rare, overhead pergola trellis system.
Variety: Lovely expressions of this grape are found in the Jura region of eastern France. Extremely rare in California. Known in Portugal as Bastardo and used in Port blends. Ageable and complex. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are siblings.
Descriptors: Aromas: dried rose petals, cranberry, black currant, crushed leaves. Flavors: strawberry, cherry compote, black tea, pepper, bramble. Texture: medium-bodied, structured, fragile tannins, savory grip
Technical Details: Harvest: September 2, 2017. Brix: 23.3. TA: .758. pH: 3.38. Alcohol: 13.4%. Yeast: Native yeast. 117 cases produced
Small lot fermentation, no temperature manipulations, no filtration, no fining, no oak used in elevage, aged in stainless steel, racked once to bottling tank
Tempesta (Corvina/Pinot Noir Blend) California 2017
A blend of 76% 30-year-old Corvina from Lodi and 24% 15 year-old Pinot Noir from San Benito County. The wines were fermented separately, blended and aged for 10 months in neutral French oak. This is light in color with a beautiful, high-toned note of red berries and spice. Lovely savory note on the finish. Notes from Bryan Harrington: "Corvina is a red wine grape used as the key component in the Italian wines of the Veneto. Familiar wines such as Valpolicella, Bardolino and Amarone are all composed primarily of Corvina. Corvina is also notable as a descendant of Pinot Noir. Corvina-based wines tend to be bright red and lighter in body with spicy, complex aromatics and flavors with a rich, glycerin mouthfeel. This Corvina is sourced from the Heirloom Ranch Vineyard located near Lodi. The site has deep, sandy, granitic soils deposited by the nearby Mokelumne River. There is little, if any influence from oak barrels as the wine was cellared in stainless steel and 50% neutral oak barrels. This is a firm wine with nerve andfood-friendly acidic background. It is richly aromatic and driven by dried strawberry, rose petal, cherry liqueur and raw almond. Flavors of raspberry, cherry tobacco, quince, cinnamon, wet stone intermingle. Like our 100% Corinva released last Spring, this wine is best served at cooler temperatures."
Pinot Noir, Chock Rock Vineyard, Monterey 2017
Vineyard: The seven acre Chock Rock Vineyard is located in a wild and rugged canyon of the Santa Lucia Mountains in Monterey County. Planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Chock Rock is named for the white, limestone-rich soils of this remote wine-growing region. The vineyard was first planted to Pinot Noir in 2003 with the first Pinot Noir crop harvested in 2007.
Descriptors: Aromatics: dried cherry, crushed tea leaves, pipe tobacco flavors: cranberry, black cherry, red pear, panforte, coffee texture/body: vibrant, graceful tannins, satiny, medium weight
Technical Information: Harvest: September 1, 2017. Brix: 22.7. TA: .675. pH: 3.50. Alc: 13.3%. Yeast: Native yeast. Clones: Pommard, 667. 90 cases produced
Small lot neutral oak, 9 months in barrel, no temperature manipulations, no fining, no filtering, racked once to bottling tank, minimal sulfur additions.
Harrington Corvina `Heirloom Ranch` Lodi 2016
From a sustainable vineyard of 35-year-old Zinfandel vines that were grafted over to Corvina grapes in 2004. This was fermented with no added yeasts in a combination of open top stainless steel and plastic macrobins for 17 days. Half the grapes were de-stemmed. The elevage consisted of six months in neutral French oak and 75 gallon stainless steel barrels. Minimal SO2 added at bottling. This is really delicious. There's a bit of tannin here. Watermelon aromas. Bryan considers this a red wine despite the fact that the appearance is like a Rose. Corvina doesn't give much color. Salty/saline finish. pH: 3.67. TA: .60.
Alvarelhao `Sumu Kaw Vineyard` El Dorado County, Sierra Foothills, 2016
The famed Sumu Kaw vineyard is an organic and dry-farmed vineyard in the Sierra foothills, the same one used by La Clarine Farm. Located at 3000 feet in elevation, the soil is a granitic dome with volcanic ash. 19 day fermentation in T-bins followed by 10 months in neutral French oak barrels. There was minimal SO2 added at bottling. Alvarelhão is believed to have originated in northern Portugal and is blended into many wines of the Dão and Douro, including Port. This just smells beautiful: anise, sage, leather, coffee beans, blood orange and plums. Medium-bodied on the palate. Who knew California wine could taste like this? Notes from Bryan Harrington: "A clean, unexpectedly well-bred wine from such an unheralded grape. As gentle, tender and fine-boned as any quality Burgundian. Alvarelhao is a grape native of northwest Portugal and particularly to the Duero Valley where it is often used as a component in Port wines. The grape also is grown in Ribeira Sacra and Monterrei in Spain where it is known as Brancellao and Albarello. This is a dry Alvarelhao bottled singularly because of the beautiful aromatics characteristic of the grape. Expect floral aromas of lilacs and violets. Flavors lean towards the blue fruit spectrum so blueberries come to mind along with huckleberries and elderberries. Pairs up beautifully with duck confit, vegetable stew. A rare and very pretty wine."
Cabernet Franc, Cedar Crest Vineyard, Manton Valley AVA 2017
Variety: Cabernet Franc is best known as a Bordeaux variety but also produces well-regarded wines from the Loire Valley. Cabernet Franc is a parent to Cabernet Sauvignon (the other is Sauvignon Blanc). The crossing occurred sometime during the middle 1600’s in southwestern France. Decanting Cabernet Franc will help simmer down Cabernet Franc’s natural spiciness. The wine will taste softer and richer with a 30 minute decant. With plenty of acidity and crunchy tannins, the wine is ready to drink now but can easily be enjoyed for the next 5 to 10 years.
Vineyard: Cedar Crest Vineyard is located high on Lassen Peak (3000 ft) in Tehama County. Lassen Peak is California's only active volcano so you can expect this Cab Franc, coming from high-altitude volcanic soils, to have a very unique flavor profile. The vineyard is farmed organically.
Descriptors: Aromas: violets, black currants, graphite, tobacco, wet gravel. Flavors: black cherry, blueberry, plum, coffee grounds. Texture: clean, opulent, crunchy tannins, persistent.
Technical Details: Harvest: October 1, 2017. Brix: 24.1. TA: .67. pH: 3.58. Alcohol: 13.5% Native yeast 52 cases produced. Elevage in neutral french oak barrels no temperature manipulations no filtration, no fining minimal sulfur additions.
Syrah, McEvoy Ranch, Marin County 2017
Vineyard: Situated a few miles from the fog-shrouded Marin Coast, the hilly McEvoy Ranch Estate Vineyard epitomizes a California cool-climate Syrah vineyard. The Ranch has been certified organic by CCOF. The vineyard blocks and olive orchards were planned and planted by renowned Tuscan viticultural advisor, Maurizio Castelli. Castelli brought the ancient Italian tradition of “coltura promiscua” to California by interplanting rows of olive trees with rows of Syrah vines. A unique vineyard concept in California not seen since the original Italian grapevine planters of the 1800s and obviously influencing the intense flavors of this wine.
Descriptors: Color: deep, black-purple. Aromatics: strong kalamata olive, black currant, white pepper, black tea, smoke. Flavors: dried blackberry, black olive, plum skin, leather, cigar, black pepper. Texture/body: strong attack, good acid, dense palate, savory grip, tannic backbone
Technical Information: Harvest: October 3, 2017. Press: October 22, 2017. Brix: 22.1. TA: .60. pH: 3.74. Alcohol: 13.2%. Yeast: Native yeast. Clones: 383 and 470. Elevage: 10 months in concrete tank. 96 cases produced
Small lot fermentation fermented in concrete, no temperature manipulations, no fining, no filtration, racked once to tank, minimal sulfur additions.
Best served with a slight chill: 55 to 60 degrees