Based in Santa Cruz, Birichino was founded in 2008 by friends Alex Krause and John Locke. Alex and John met whilst working at Randall Grahm’s Bonny Doon Vineyard and share a passion for perfumed, elegant but slightly mischievous wines; in fact, Birichino is Italian for ‘mischievous’! The Birichino style is very much in the vein of ‘New Wave California’. The focus is on drinkability, fruit expression, elegance and lower alcohol levels. Oak is rarely seen, whole bunch is embraced, native yeasts are in and filtration is out. Alex and John source grapes from reputable growers, who farm very old vineyards in mostly maritime-influenced or higher altitude areas such as Monterey or Santa Cruz Mountains but they also work with some extremely old vineyards in Lodi. Their Cinsault from the Bechthold vineyard is made from the world’s oldest Cinsault plants. These wines represent exceptionally good value, given their pedigree.
Harvest Dates: 9/10-9/18/19
Composition: Pinot Noir 100%
Appellation: Central Coast
The 2019 St Georges derives primarily from the elegant,
floral, very small-berried pinot from three decades-old blocks
farmed by George Besson off the eastern flank of Santa Cruz
Mountains. This small corner of the Santa Clara Valley manifests in the red wines produced there by the scent of botanical
extracts, mountain herbs, and cherry liqueur.
To its register of expansive red floral notes we add the
muscular, brooding, deeply-flavored old selections of pinot from
a vineyard planted 1800’ up in the Chalone AVA, and just over
the Gabilan Mountains at an old limestone and active granite
quarry in the remote Lime Kiln Valley. These sites together bring
exceptionally textured depth and lifted aromatics to this dynamic
Central Coast bottling.
Fermentation averaged about 35% whole cluster, with a
higher proportion of the Chalone and Lime Kiln Valley lots left
whole, and after several days in stainless and bins, the mysterious and prismatic aspect of wild yeast fermentation got going,
and we put a preliminary blend down to neutral barrel in October. We racked just once when final barrel selections were
made. Elevage was just shy of 1 year in quite old barriques
before we bottled, unfined and unfiltered, in early Fall of the
following vintage. -Alex and John