by Andrew Chalk
Kokomo Winery, a small producer in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, has just released a new line of wines setting out to express a particular style. In the words of winemaker, Erik Miller:
· Breaking Bread is a new project ... and is inspired by an emerging style of California wines that are lighter in alcohol, crunchy in acidity, and bright in appearance
· The first 2 wines we are releasing, (are) both made with fruit from a single vineyard in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County:
o 2018 Zinfandel
o 2018 Grenache
· The defining characteristic is whole-cluster fermentation (carbonic maceration)
· We use all native yeast for spontaneous fermentation, all native bacteria for malolactic fermentation, and add no Sulphur throughout fermentation
· The goal is a very hands off approach to winemaking that highlights the purity of fruit, and deliciousness of a lighter bodied red wine that preferably should be served slightly chilled.
I tried the Grenache, following his suggestion to chill it first. It is indeed a fruit-forward, high acid wine, even though Grenache has a reputation for low acidity. The carbonic maceration reminds one of Beaujolais Nouveau and this may become an alternative style for many readers. The 12.9% alcohol reading is below most red wines.
The wine is a light cherry in color and only medium intensity. Pepper, cranberry and strawberry notes dominate the nose. The mouthfeel is light with grippy tannins that aren’t over-strong. The flavors are vibrant but earthy. Drink now, with any number of foods, all defined by flavors that are not too overwhelming and heavy.
This wine offers much more than nouveau Beaujolais and might catch on as a new style category for California wines. In the interim, order this wine direct from the winery.