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.
Harrington Zinfandel `Zeni Ranch` Mendocino Ridge 2016
This is an extraordinary field blend of “mixed blacks” from the legendary Zeni Ranch consisting of 125-year-old Zinfandel vines interspersed with old vines of Carignane, Mourvedre, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Mission, Palomino and Chasselas (!). The vineyard is entirely dry farmed and completely organic. The grapes used to be sold to Edmeades and Jess Jackson. The mixed grapes are picked at the same time and co-fermented. Fermentation lasted 19 days in plastic T-Bins followed by 10 months in neutral French oak barrels. Only 13.3% alcohol (low for Zinfandel). George Zeni, the farmer whose name is given to this vineyard, recently passed away, but he thought that Zinfandel should be made to “leave a scratch in the throat.” This is remarkable; sappy fruit, a lovely herb quality, and enough tannin and acidity to give structure.
Trousseau `Siletto Vineyard` San Benito County 2016
From a vineyard of 25-year-old Trousseau vines in San Benito County just northeast of Monterey. Planted on granite and limestone soils and pergola-trained; only four clusters per vine. This is 100% Trousseau, a grape variety originating in the Jura region of eastern France. Bryan ferments the grapes in a combination of concrete and macrobins for 16 days then ages the wine in neutral French oak for eight months before bottling with minimal SO2. This is delicious; spicy and smoky with juicy ripe, red fruits and excellent lift. This wine has substance despite its light color. 13% alcohol, pH: 3.41. TA: .67.
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."
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."
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.