It’s kind of ironic that this week’s wine of the week is a non Rhone from one of my favorite North Sonoma county Rhone producers, Sheldon Wines. Sheldon in fact also makes great Burgundian (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay) and other varietals, but with such little focus on Rhone here in Sonoma and their hands on experience in Gigondas and deep love of Rhone wines, they are one of my top local referrals for Rhone wines. Their Petite Sirah gave me fresh insight that Petite Sirah really CAN be a Rhone varietal, and Dylan’s new Vinolocity Blanc white blend was the only white future I bought this year.
Sheldon is the beautiful story of Tobe and Dylan Sheldon, who fell in love with each other as much as they did wine, and married these pursuits, and each other. Sheldon is a micro winery, sometimes making as little of a barrel (25 cases.)
They share in all tasks, but success seems to have required more specialization as Dylan focuses most on wine making. In our chats, usually when he is whizzing around the busy winery, Dylan can geek over vinification techniques to a level I feel like a school boy, and have never heard of. Tobe is a great sales & marketeer and often the face of the winery in the tasting room. Their passion for wine, and each other is visible in all they do, and the sacrifices they make.
Sheldon opened a new tasting room and production facility last fall in Santa Rosa. Its a shared facility with two other wineries (Krutz and MJ Lords), next too, and owned by Ray D’Argenzio of the D’Argenzio Wines – aka the Godfather of Santa Rosa Wine as I call him.
This new tasting room is part of the Santa Rosa Vintners Square which is unfolding this summer into a mecca of wine and food with another shared tasting room that will support 8 wineries, a culinary center, cobblestone walks, bocce ball, and more.
Both tasting rooms are open for extended hours and regularly feature fun food, wine, and entertainment, often impromptu. Best to follow them on Facebook for the latest. Visit them at 1301 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Never heard of this varietal (grape type.) ? Don’t feel bad, there are only about a dozen acres of Graciano planted in California. It’s most known for its production in the Rioja region in Spain, but even there plantings are small, and its mostly blended.
Wine Review: Sheldon 2009 Graciano Ripkin Vineyard, Lodi
Only 4 barrels, 100 cases of this stunning, low alcohol (12%!) red wine were made. Nicknamed “SuperFreak.”
Color: Vibrant, Medium red, fairly clear especially for an unfiltered, unfined wine.
On the Nose: Highly aromatic & complex: Cherry, red fruit, white pepper and spice spring from the glass. Hints of cola, rhubarb and pie spice are in deeper layers.
In the Mouth: Cranberry, tart red fruit, spice.
Recommendations: The acidity level may allow for some cellaring, but I do not have the ability to keep my hands off this wine. Buy and drink, while you can. Extraordinary- 96 points. (I can count on one hand wines I rate over 95 in the last year.)
Wine Geek & Vinification Info:
- The second vintage working with this obscure varietal. This planting however is found 19 feet below sea level, on limestone soils at the Guard Rd. block in the western most planted area of the Lodi appellation, a certified Lodi Green Vineyard. Originally brought the Graciano in with the idea of blending it, but it had so much personality the Sheldon’s just couldn’t bring ourselves to change it.
- Harvested in three stages, from the 23rd to the 29th of October, just before the rains came. The fruit was hand sorted, and crushed with 100% whole cluster and roughly 50% whole berries to enhance the fruit and spice aromatics. We
- Inoculated the first lot with a natural yeast strain isolated in the northern Rhone valley, the later picks fermented with the indigenous yeast from the vineyard. Fermentation took place in ½ ton macro bins & punched down 4 times a day. Pressed off after 8 days on the skins, using the gentlest press possible, a ¾ ton hydro-basket press. Once the wine is pressed, it’s allowed to settle for a few days in tank before barreling down into neutral French oak barrels (4 years old).
- This wine, as with all of Sheldon wines ,is neither fined nor filtered.
- Varietal: 100% Graciano
- Appellation: Lodi
- Vineyard: Ripken (Guard Rd.) Vineyard
- Fermentation: ½ ton open top macro bins
- Cooperage: 100% Neutral French oak.
- Captured into Bottle: June 2nd 2010. Released into the Wild: September 2010
- Lab notes- PH 3.39 / TA .68 / Alc% 11.8
- Case production: 95 (12x750ml)
Cheers and thanks for reading Simple Hedonisms Wine Blog !