Rotating Wine Special
We bring in a case of wine every week or so to run on special. This is probably the most fun aspect of our jobs. We hope you join us as we work through case after case of wine that we have carefully picked out and are excited to share with you. Below is what is on special now, and further down the page you can see what's on deck.
2020 Field Recordings Mosaic-Hopped Pét-Nat
Varietal Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Color: Pale green-yellow
Oak Profile: None
Terroir: Arroyo Grande Valley AVA, San Luis Obispo County, south-central California
Price: $10 BTG / $35 BTB / $19 Offsite Retail
Tasting Notes: Excellent, tremendously floral nose: bright, cheery, big lemony tones (almost Citra-like, although this is dry-hopped with Mosaic), alongside key lime, a touch of cut-grass, and a refreshing blast of sticky-skunky lupulin. The flavors are cleaner and more traditionally-wine-driven than one would thus expect—very clean, in fact, given this is a New World
Chardonnay—with good, moderate acidity, definite elements of gooseberry, some lime-crashed-
into-really-dry-pear, and a super nice, succulently-clean finish.
Background: Field Recordings is a boutique producer, run by winemaker Andrew Jones, that’s short on production volume but long on both individuality and ingenuity. A major reason for this twin-focus on very broad creativity and highly local personality arises from Jones’ incipient years in the wine industry, his having begun his career as “a vine nursery fieldman planning and planting vineyards for farmers all over California”. Sourcing fruit from all across the Central Coast region (as can be seen in the included map below), Jones professes to search for “diamonds in the rough” from those vineyards on which he’s worked over the years, receiving small lots of fruit from across his network of farmers, before vinifying and adding his unique, idiosyncratic, even historically-niche- focused imprint on the resultant wines. As part of that ethos, all wines that Jones produces under the “Field Recordings” label are single-vineyard wines, speaking singularly for their specific terroir.
The specific style here—“Pét-Nat”, abbreviating pétillant-naturel—is a rapidly-emerging, if still somewhat-niche, market in the US; nevertheless, it’s actually an extremely old method of sparkling-wine production in Europe, and France specifically, where it is known as the méthode ancestrale (which distinguishes it from the now-much-more-common méthode traditionnelle—which is, ironically, only traditional in a very recent, past-two-decades sense). Sparkling wines produced in the pét-nat fashion tend to be less aggressively effervescent than those produced with the méthode traditionnelle, and in fact have a lot in common with traditional Old World styles of beer, which have not completely finished fermenting when they are bottled. In this scenario, yeast remains in solution and active, alongside residual sugars, producing carbon dioxide, which enters solution, thereby carbonating the wine (or beer). Thus, unlike the traditionnelle, there is no disgorging and dosage; and, while ancestral method sparkling wines are often filtered in France, it has become more common to see limited or no filtration in New World pét-nats (which preserves even more complexity and flavor—not unlike the trend towards hazy IPAs et cetera in US craft beer
Unlike the precious-few other hopped wines I’ve had, this “dry hop” isn’t a post-ferment hopping during élevage, but rather a co-ferment with Mosaic hops, “cold and slow for ten weeks”, as the tech sheet promises. The Chardonnay comes from Coquina Vineyard in the Arroyo Grand Valley AVA, which is a sixteen-miles long appellation (within the larger Central Coast AVA) that benefits from its east-northeast orientation, allowing Pacific-birthed breezes to moderate the temperatures of an otherwise hot area; this Pacific influence also generates a fog-line in the valley, allowing cooler-climate grapes like this Chardonnay (and Pinot noir) to be grown in mid-valley, while the more exposed, fogless higher elevations grow Zinfandel, Petite sirah, and Rhône varietals.
Still Room Wine Manager
Jonathan first became well-acquainted with craft beer, far-flung wines, and classic cocktails on the consumer-side, reaching legal drinking-age in one of the best restaurant and bar cities in the world (Chicago, IL). Moving subsequently to the rugged central highlands of Arizona, and finding a home in the burgeoning viticultural region of the Verde Valley, he spent several years working in the area’s vineyards, cellars, and tasting-rooms, eventually managing one of the latter (while helping out part-time at a friend’s local craft-brewery, which presented tremendous opportunity for cross-over projects).
While he still has a palate-preference for the fine Rhône-style wines that are the focus of Arizona’s terroir (not to mention actual Rhodanien wines), his overriding project at the Still Room is to bring to our tables unique, exciting, and overlooked varietals from any region—meaning you won’t find our wines at most other dining or grocery establishments, and many bottles will include a descriptive journey away from mainstays and towards the margins of the winemaking map. But, as Ishmael says Instagram-famously in Moby-Dick, “true places never are […] down on any map”.
In his spare time, Jonathan can be found drinking beers brewed by Mountains Walking or Imagination, waiting for the Roxy to reopen, playing around with new punches for our in-house punch menu, and researching the etymologies of obscure words. He is also a published poet, with an MFA in Poetry from University of Montana, as well as a candidate for an MA in Literature who needs to finish his thesis.