Home Posts tagged 'Birichino'

Posts Tagged ‘Birichino’


John Herbstritt

Drought Friendly, Dry-Farmed Wines Perfect For Summer!

Dry Farmed Vines

Dry-farmed vines at the Besson vineyard (photo cred: Alex Krause).

As the drought deepens guests have been asking us how we as retailers have been responding to the growing crisis. We work hard to curtail water use at the markets on a daily basis, and we go a step further to support producers who practice sustainable water usage. In the wine department, we talk a lot about dry-farmed vineyardsand will be showcasing four of our favorite dry-farmed wines this month that are perfect for pairing with summer barbecues.

The first vines planted in California were not irrigated; Spanish settlers and later Italian immigrants planted vines that were drought-resistant, like Zinfandel and the old Mission variety. Even some of the first Chardonnay vineyards like Stony Hill in Calistoga were dry-farmed. But for the variety to take hold in the way that it did after the Judgment of Paris tasting in 1976 irrigation had to become the norm (even though all of those wines came from dry-farmed vineyards!). Chardonnay is originally from Burgundy, a very wet place. Once it became widespread, we, the consumer, and the vines were addicted. You can’t just turn off the spigot on vines that have been continuously irrigated, the shock could kill them. Even dry-farmed vineyards need to be watered for the first couple of years in order for the vines to successfully take hold.

Dry-Farmed-Wines

Our favorite dry-farmed wines, great for bbqs!

So here we are in quite a pickle: the market demands from California varieties that cannot be produced without irrigation. When a farmer decides to plant a vineyard he or she is going to think first about what sells, but the price of water is becoming an increasingly important consideration. Our job, then, is to promote producers who we feel are already doing it right. Alex Krause and John Locke from Birichino make delicious Grenache from extremely old vineyards just east of Santa Cruz. The site is called the Besson vineyard and it was planted in 1910 to Grenache. They look more like small trees than vines, and they produce a miniscule amount of concentrated fruit each year. What makes old, dry-farmed vines so special? Alex shared his perspective: “I think that vines are like people and that with the benefit of a century or more, they’ve figured out what to do with the available resources – whether we’re talking nutrients from the soil, available water and sunlight, or the crop levels they set. They find their own rhythm and balance.”

If vines are like people then there is some hope for us after all. While each of us figures out how to deal with this crisis, at least there are drought-friendly wines to drink. We all play our part!

Birichino Besson Vineyard Grenache ($19.99)
Birichino was founded by two friends (John Locke and Alex Krause) who both worked at Bonny Doon. This bottling is from 102 year-old dry-farmed, own-rooted Grenache fermented with native yeast, aged in neutral French barrels, bottled unfiltered. A rosehip-like aspect dominates the wild berry fruit. Modest and bright, with a bit more tannin than up-front fruit and a pleasant dried-herb aspect – perfect for a weeknight.

Bucklin “Bambino” Old Hill Ranch ($21.99)
Old Hill Ranch is an historic jewel. It was founded by William McPherson Hill in 1851.  Will Bucklin’s mother and stepfather, Anne and Otto Teller, purchased the vineyard in 1981 and sold grapes to Joel Peterson at Ravenswood Winery for their top tier vineyard designate Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel.  Bucklin and Ravenswood are the sole producers of wine from the vineyard. The “Bambino” comes from a 10-acre block that was planted on Old Hill in 1998. This young vine field-blend is patterned after the ancient vine field-blend for which Old Hill is known; it is a blend of several grape varieties, principally Zinfandel, but also Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Grenache to name a few.

Bucklin Rosé Old Hill Ranch Sonoma ($19.99)
Sourced from the Old Hill Ranch Vineyard, this Rosé is made from Grenache, Zinfandel, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and Carignane. Whole cluster pressed and finished dry. Beautiful floral aromas with a crisp finish.

Calder Wine Company Charbono ($24.99)
Calder Wine Company was founded by Rory Williams, who grew up in a wine family, with his dad, John Williams who started Frog’s Leap. Part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste, Charbono has a long and wending history in California. Only 70 acres remain here, and it is extinct in its native land of France’s Savoie. After arriving in the mid-1800s (imported, it is believed, by the same man who provided the famed botanist Luther Burbank with the source material for his gardens), it was alternately mistaken for Pinot Noir and Barbera until the mid-20th century, when Inglenook’s John Daniel began making it famous. Some of these mid-century examples still survive, and serve as inspiration for makers of Charbono today, to whom Charbono stands as a lasting connection to the heritage and history of winemaking in Napa Valley. This Charbono features vibrant aromas of cherry cola and ripe plums, backed by intense secondary flavors of forest floor, mustard flowers, dark chocolate, sour cherries and bee pollen. A soft, plummy texture blends with bright acidity and dusty tannins to provide a backbone to the intense aromatics.


Waverley Aufmuth

What Are You Cooking for 4th of July?

The weather (and the grills!) are heating up, which means the 4th of July is nearly here!  We’ve got everything you need to plan your epic independence feast, from meats and marinades to snacks and condiments – and don’t forget the BBQ friendly wines!  Whether you’re celebrating at home, picnicking with fireworks, or road tripping with friends, we’ve got your 4th
festivities covered.  Shop for everything you need in both Markets or order online for delivery from our special 4th of July Instacart.com!

Master the Grill, SF-Style

4th-of-July-Ribs-(2)Starting this Saturday, June 27th until Sunday, July 5th, get your Niman Ranch St. Louis Pork Ribs for only $4.99/lb. (normally $7.99/lb.)  Whether you prefer to dunk your ribs in sauce or braise them on the grill, San Francisco’s “signature barbecue sauce,” SFQ BBQ Sauce ($7.99) – with its spicy, smoky tang – is the perfect pair for ribs, grilled peaches or tofu too!  Try our all-weather St. Louis Ribs SF-Style recipe to get the party started:

4th of July Ribs_recipe card

Chips, Dips and Condiments, Oh My!

primary_99e7a439-b1f3-4ec2-80e4-91ba6d017146 Because no barbecue is complete without the full roster of condiments, snacks, and seasonings, we’ve got some of our local favorites that are sure to liven up any party.  Spice things up with 4505 Chicharrones or go the classic route with Nopalito Tortilla Chips and three varieties of Papalote salsas – Roasted Tomato, Habanero or Serrano-Tomatillo.

primary_0ea2f938-d855-44f0-94e4-36ed550cd7ccFor your burgers, brats and buns, we’ve got some great twists on the classics.  Mix it up with sweet and spicy Sosu Srirachup and Mother In Law’s tangy umami-filled Garlic Chili Gochujang; or dress your burgers in the French tradition with KL Keller Dijon Mustard and Sir Kensington’s Mayonnaise.  For seasoning your ribs, burgers, and corn look no further than Omnivore Salt.  Top it all off with Cabot Vintage Cheddar and you’re sure to be the envy of every party!

primary_eb613a9d-7ba2-4e20-b110-03f92e39e55aWhether you like your pickles speared, sliced, or whole, on the bun or as a side, we’ve got what you need with our own Bi-Rite Market Public Label Dill Pickles, Boozely’s Pickles (spears), and Pacific Pickle Works’ Bread & Buddas.

 

Sweet Tastes of Summer

primary_3eafcc43-3f5c-4e39-abe7-af2bbdfc1bccOur Organic Sweet Corn is great for grilling!  It wouldn’t be a summer barbecue without the Watermelon and the best of summer’s berries with our Mixed Berry 3-Pack.

BBQ Friendly Wines

Dry-Farmed-WinesPerfectly paired with barbecue fare, these wines are dry-farmed and drought friendly, showcasing some wonderful California vineyards who are doing their part to conserve water while making delicious wines.

Bucklin “Bambino” Old Hill Ranch $21.99
This young vine field-blend contains several grape varieties, principally Zinfandel, but also Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet and Grenache.

Bucklin Rosé of Old Hill Ranch $19.99
Whole-cluster pressed and finished dry, this wine has beautiful floral aromas with a crisp finish.

Calder Wine Co. Charbono $24.99
This wine has vibrant aromas of cherry cola and ripe plums, backed by intense secondary flavors of forest floor, mustard flowers, dark chocolate, sour cherries and bee pollen.

Birichino Besson Vineyard Grenache $19.99
Modest and bright, with a bit more tannin than up-front fruit and a pleasant dried-herb aspect – perfect for a weeknight.


Matt R.

October Winery of the Month – Birichino

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Besson Vineyard 101-year-old Grenache vine

Birichino means “mischievous” in Italian, and although Birichino founders Alex Krause and John Locke definitely have a glint in their eyes, they are dead serious about making delicious wine. They are both are alums of Randall Graham land at Bonny Doon (have you been paying attention?), and his wine-making philosophies have definitely rubbed off on them: the wines share a similar balance of fruit expressiveness, texture, and earth.

Alex and John are really into the expression of old vine sites, which is one of the most exciting things going on in California these days. Old vineyards like the Besson vineyard near Santa Cruz and the Bechtold Vineyard in Lodi not only produce tiny amounts of super-concentrated fruit for making fantastic wine, but also hold in their trunks the built-up stories of the people that eked an existence out of the land long before there was such a thing as a ’boutique winery’. John and Alex honor those stories by making wines with a sense of place: earth and dust. Their first major commercial release was the 2010 vintage, but the much-hailed 2012s are here now and tasting great. All of these wines are great for the autumn dinner table and pair well with everything from roasted delicata squash with farro and a light salad to a full-on daube Provençal with braised prunes and mashed potatoes. Let us know what you think!

BirichinoPinot22012 Birichino St. George Pinot Noir  –  $19.99

Fruit-forward, fresh, and bright, this is real CA Pinot, but with the restraint and elegance of an old-world wine. They balance the natural spice and sappiness of these vines by using a partial whole-cluster fermentation which tends to yield a lighter, fruitier wine. It’s delicious with everything from Fall vegetables to a hearty winter feast.

2011 Birichino Old Vine Besson Vineyard Grenache  –  $19.99BirichinoGrenache3

The Besson vineyard was one of Alex and John’s first sites. The vines are 100+ years old, but still yield wines that are spry and versatile at the table. Flavors of sour cherry and black pepper fold into a lush texture with a blend of other red fruits. Perfect with a roast chicken, side of root veggies and zesty gremolata. Let your imagination run wild!

BirichinoCinsault22012 Birichino Old Vine Bechtold Vineyard Cinsault  –  $17.99

The incredibly old (sensing a theme?) Bechtold Vineyard was planted in 1886 in deep sandy soils, which make it inhospitable to the phylloxera louse that ravaged many of the original CA plantings. It produces a tiny amount of concentrated fruit. These guys make delicious rose from it, but this red is perhaps the most honest representation of the wild fennel, black cherry, and earth that is inherent to Cinsault and to the ripe wines of Lodi.

2012 Birichino Malvasia Bianco  –  $14.99BirichinoMalvasia3

Malvasia is not so well-known these days, but was one of the most famous grapes in the world back in the Age of Exploration. Alex and John wait to harvest the grapes just when the floral and sweet citrus notes come out, but while the grapes still have a lingering mint character that balances out the flavor cocktail. A delicious choice for those open to varietal exploration, but would be a great stand-in for Pinot Grigio lovers, too!

Upcoming Events:

November Wine Blitz!! – Monday, November 11 – Sunday, November 17

*18th St. Location Only*

December Wine Blitz!! – Monday, December 9 – Sunday, December 15

*18th St. Location Only*

Upcoming Tastings:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In

November Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Thursday, November 7, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Sancerre Tasting with Pamela Busch – Wednesday, November 13, 7:00-9:00PM, Ticketed

December Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Friday, December 6, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine – Monday, December 9, 7-9PM, Ticketed