LA CLARINE FARM
SIERRA FOOTHILLS, California
If wine writer Terry Theise’s notion that distinctiveness as precondition for greatness is correct, La Clarine Farm is certainly primed for immortality. The La Clarine wines are teeming with life in a way that separates them from even the most lively of French natural producers. Self-proclaimed refugees from the music business, Hank Beckmeyer and Caroline Hoël began the project thinking they’d try a few things and if people liked it, they’d continue. Recovering biodynamic farmers, they have evolved from Steiner’s method of rigorous input to Fukuoka’s method of careful observation. Although they purchase the majority of their fruit, Hank writes about the quantum entanglement of vineyard, winery and winemaker; a cellar-inclusive addendum to the conception of terroir. The La Clarine wines are bottled inquiries, cloudy with curiosity and a bursting state of vivacious play that makes them a joy to drink and endlessly fascinating.
This is the quintessential La Clarine cuvée. Hank writes: "Probably my favorite wine we make, just on the basis of it being so damn drinkable young, and so damn beautiful after 8 or 10 years in the bottle."
Although the single varietal Viognier was initially intended as a one-off to capture an exceptional vintage for the grape, Hank tells us “I guess I’ve made my peace with Viognier,” and the wine allows him to showcase two of his favorite vineyards together.
The idea for Al Basc came about from a conversation with the great Eric Texier about the nature of 6-7 month macerations. Hank decided Albarino would be a great grape to try it out with and three years later here we are!