NORTH YUBA, Sierra Foothills
Given the meteoric thrust of the natural wine 'scene' there are all manner of ideologies being thrown about that tend to paint American naturalists in a reactionary hue. Clos Saron is emblematic of an older, more contemplative approach that finds itself in the natural camp because, well, that's the best way to express a sense of place! Israeli ex-pat Gideon Beinstock is a consummate terroir-ist whose discomfort with the definition of 'winemaker' stems not from radical minimalism for its own sake but from the simple fact that he spends nearly all his time farming and very little in the cellar.
Even setting aside the historicity of the project, Clos Saron is remarkable. The winery has never stopped evolving, continuing to explore ideas of ripeness, cofermentation and sulfite application in thoughtful ways despite decades of successful production. The wines are monolithic embodiments of North Yuba's scorching, iron-laden granitic terroir. They have potency in the manner of the southern French masters - presence and assertiveness couched in the language heat and earth.
HOME VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
The so-called ‘home vineyard,’ is a patchwork collection of four discrete, half acre blocks in volcanic, quartzite soils. Whole clusters are foot crushed and fermented in macro bins before early pressing into neutral barrel for aging.
High elevation Syrah coplanted with Viognier in the red granite that typifies North Yuba. Whole clusters are foot crushed and fermented in macro bins before early pressing into neutral barrel for aging.
A PLEASANT PEASANT
The ungrafted, pre-prohibition Carignane planted in the early 1900’s is grown sand and fine, decomposed granite. Whole clusters are foot crushed and fermented in macro bins before early pressing into neutral barrel for aging.
KIND OF BLUE
An evolution of 'Pleasant Peasant' with the same pre-prohibition Carignane enriched with Renaissance grown Syrah and Grenache. Vinified and aged like the other Clos Saron wines.
Ungrafted Albarino and Verdelho form sandy soils in Lodi cofermented as whole clusters with a tiny smidge of Renaissance grown Sauvignon Blanc. Less of an orange wine than an enriched white.
Completely unfarmed Gewurztraminer from a vineyard up the road from Clos Saron. Whole cluster fermented just like 'Carte Blanche'
An early picked pink wine from their home vineyard of Pinot Noir whole cluster pressed and barrel fermented and aged.