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The other night we opened up a sample of the multi-vintage, multi-grape bottling from Broc Cellars, 'Got Grapes'. What we expected to be a rather straightforward 'glou-glou' chillable red, stole our attention for over an hour! We were each so taken by its sheer deliciousness, that it reminded us that a wine need not be overly complex to be captivating. Every time I taste a new bottle from Broc Cellars there is a sense that the person making them does so with love. Forgive me, I know how cheesey that must sound, but there is a warmth, a joy, in these wines that comes beaming through regardless of the grape or vintage.
Chris Brockway, the winemaker for and owner of Broc Cellars has exactly the kind of philosophy that we champion at Chambers Street Wines. He believes that wines should be made without additives, little to no sulfur, and must come from fruit farmed without synthetic chemical intervention. Natural wine can mean something different to so many people, often used because it is "trendy", but at Broc Cellars they go out of their way to demonstrate transparency. For each wine they make there is an in-depth note about exactly what is harvested from which vineyards/regions, the farming practices used, and what transpired in the cellar before bottling.
The "Love" line of wines truly embody their name! These are meant to be drunk young, fresh, and without pretention. The 'Love Red' this year is a Goldilocks of wines; just enough tannin, just enough body, and perfectly juicy acidity. The 'Love Rosé' is about to arrive and if it is anything like last year it will be delightful.
The 'Amore Bianco' is stellar, and deserves more attention. Here the grape Tocai Friulano (aka Sauvignon Vert) is allowed to shine in all it's bright, herbal glory. This lesser know variety is found predominantly in Italy, but as Californians are known to experiment, it made its way to the Fox Hill Vineyard. Fox Hill is home to several Italian grape varieties brought over as 'suitcase cuttings' which are now thriving in the rocky, riverbed soil, just north of the Russian River. This wine is clearly inspired by Italy, but with an extra sunny, Broc Cellars touch making it bright and approachable, and of course an excellent food pairing for spring/summer vegetables.
While clearing out the cellar during inventory, I discovered a bottle of the 2017 Green Valley Valdiguié and was reminded of this wonderful variety. Valdiguie was once referred to as "Napa Gamay" and it certainly does have many similarities, with just a bit more density and darker fruit. This will be perfect at barbeques and outdoor dining, and now that it's a few years old the tannins are beginning to soften and mellow. Sadly, there's only a handful of bottles left from this vintage left! From further north, Broc Cellars utilizes another vineyard of nearly 100 year-old Valdiguié vines, the Rosewood Vineyard in Mendocino. Here the climate is a bit cooler, and the extra acidity that gives the grapes make them perfect for a dry, frothy sparkling rosé made in the method ancestral.
These are wines to make you smile. They are fresh, vibrant, and unfussed with, but still give you plenty to discover. If you are not already in love with natural wines from California, a bottle from Broc Cellars should turn you around. Michelle DeWyngaert
**Most wines available for pickup/delivery after 6/9**
What began as an accident in 2017, has become a surprise hit! Now, several iterations later, it has become a blend from just about every vineyard and variety that is used at Broc Cellars and includes with from 2018-2020. A light, transparent ruby red in the glass, and only 12% ABV, this is the ultimate summer red to keep in the fridge. Joyful, juicy, dangerously easy to drink, and got better and better the longer it was open. Notes of summer cherries, soft, fresh herbs, pomegranate juice, crushed raspberry, and just a touch of tannin. This wine literally had us discussing how good it is for over an hour, until we had accidentally finished the whole bottle.. You will want several of these, I promise. Michelle DeWyngaert
There's a quality that seems to run through all of the Broc Cellars wine; I like to call it "sunniness", as though Chris Brock is literally capturing California sun and bottling it. The 'Amore Bianco' is 100% Tocai Friulano from the beautiful Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, a haven of Italian grape varieties, which sits on rocky sandstone and quartz. The grapes are fermented on the skins in a combination of sandstone jars and steel tanks, then pressed into neutral French oak where it ages for eight months before bottling unfiltered. This wine really does taste of Italy by way of California. All of the tell-tale signs of great Italian white with an herbaceous quality and slightly bitter finish, but with brighter, riper fruit. On the nose is grapefruit, lemon oil, tarragon, basil, and sea salt. The palate is juicy is slightly textured, a squeeze of lemon juice, almond skins, and herbaceous, almost vegetal savoriness. As the label suggests, this is a great option for those hard to pair vegetables like artichoke and asparagus! Michelle DeWyngaert
Chris Brockaway makes a wide range of California wine but the common denominators are that they must be made without additives (other than a small amount of SO2 as necessary), always fermented with indigenous yeasts, using grapes from vineyards that do not use synthetic chemicals (many of them certified organic), and of course they must be delicious. The blend comes from the Ricetti, Rosewood, and Wirth Ranch vineyards in Mendocino and Solano Country Green Valley and is 85% Valdigue, 14% Zinfandel, and 1% Trousseau. The grapes are foot-stomped and left on the skins for twelve hours and then fermented/rested in stainless steel tanks. Notes of ripe raspberry and cranberry, and touch of red apple skin tannin on the palate. A darker rosé that is a perfect balance of tart and juicy. Michelle DeWyngaert
As with all of Broc Cellars' wines, there is something so joyful and exuberant about this red blend! They are committed to only working with vineyards that do not use any synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers, and the wines never have anything added other than occasionally a small amount of SO2. This vintage of Love Red is a blend of 77% Carignan, 15% Valdiguié, 8% Syrah from a combination of 70 year-old vineyards in Solano County's Green Valley, and Mendocino, both are dry farmed and organic. Notes of wild cherry, violet, red plum skin, and tree bark on the nose, and on the palate ripe, juicy plum, black cherries, and just enough tannin to give the wine some backbone. Best served with a slight chill! Michelle DeWyngaert
Sourced from dry-farmed Valdiguie vines that are over 90 years-old in the organic certified Rosewood Vineyard in the Redwood Valley of Mendocino. A fine crunchy mousse with great acidity and the character of a handful of wild berries or the underbrush they were gathered from, this is a wonderful, deeply-hued rosé from one of our favorite winemakers. At only 11% this is a fantastic bubbly for the summer, and as Pét-Nats go has enough pop and fizz to be used in a celebratory fashion. Andrew Farquhar