Under The Wire: Double Bubble Trouble in California

2/19/17 -

More than a decade ago, Chris Cottrell and Morgan Twain-Peterson became friends while working for the same wine store in NYC. When Morgan moved back to California and eventually started Bedrock Wine Company in 2007, Chris remained on the front lines of NYC wine retail. Morgan became well-renowned at Bedrock for producing expressive Zinfandels from old-vine heritage vineyards throughout California, while Chris sold cases of high-end Champagne. Both were inspired by the nascent grower-champagne movement, and wanted to make sparkling wines in the United States with a similar philosophy. Both would be reunited as business partners for their Under the Wire project to produce sparkling wine in California.

Along with a murderer’s row of California winemakers (Arnot-Roberts, Rhys Vineyards, Dirty & Rowdy, Bedrock, Kistler, Cruse Wine Company), Morgan and Chris also stumbled across Alder Springs Vineyards in northern Mendocino County. Stuart Bewley (who made his fortune of the short-lived 80’s wine cooler craze) purchased 140 acres of  land in 1990, which was previously used as hunting grounds by the previous owners. Due to the site's proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the area was thought to be too cool to ripen grapes (let along the constant issues with wild pigs and bears), but Stuart determined the well-draining, gravelly soils, comprised of decomposed sandstone with quartz, would prove a promising site to plant vines. Subsequently, he planted nearly 40 varieties at elevations nearly 1,700 – 2,700 feet on southern and eastern exposure to explore the vinous potential of this site.

The Under the Wire project was an extension of their desire to produce similar terroir-driven sparkling wines to Champagne, and for the first time in California, from both single vineyards and single vintages. Both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir see primary fermentation with indigenous yeasts; malolactic is blocked to preserve acidity; the bottles see secondary fermentation on the lees for nearly two years to develop complexity.

Both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Alder Springs have savory, yet bright personalities that express the maritime influence and diversity of soil types. The Under The Wire project clearly demonstrates the untapped potential to explore terroir in California; we’re proud to offer our small allocation today! -Jonas Mendoza

You have successfully subscribed!
This email has been registered