Megan Bell is one of our favorite homegrown winemakers. “Complicated things don’t really interest me,” Megan muses “I want wine to be thought of as something that’s very not complicated - that’s something that affected me a lot at the beginning.” Her company stems out from this crazy idea that wonderful things don’t have to be so damn tedious! She sources fruit from less evangelized regions of California and their scrappy mom ‘n pop vineyards. The wines are delicious, totally unfussy and super clean.
CLARKSBURG CHENIN BLANC
The original Margins wine, Megan thinks the ‘19 is the cleanest vintage yet. The fruit comes from a 20 acre plot at Wilson Vineyard that’s been earmarked as an organic pilot project with hopes that 2020’s season will see that dream realized. Whole cluster pressed to steel for fermentation, aged in neutral barrel for 5.5 months.
SKIN FERMENTED CHENIN BLANC
“It’s hard to do skin fermented whites,” Megan muses “I just keep learning more and more how to do it.” With 2019, she got a firmer handle on managing oxygen control and shortened the maceration from the 30 days she’s done before to 25. Destemmed fruit is skin fermented and macerated in steel for a total of 25 days and aged in neutral barrel for just under six months.
CONTRA COSTA MUSCAT
“I wasn’t like dying to make Muscat” she says but it gave her an opportunity do something “slightly outside of the box.” The lot is split in two with one half destemmed and skin fermented for two days and the other half was whole cluster pressed. Although she was super proud of ‘18, with 2019, she was able to pick earlier. The result was an 11% wine that had all the parts of 18’s Muscat she really liked but a little more easy drinking.
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS BARBERA
Like many regions in California, the growers in the expansive Santa Cruz AVA will often name their vineyard after the sub region where they work that should have its own AVA. Such is the case for Zayante Vineyard, a ‘super super remote’ high-elevation vineyard totalling about 18 acres situated in the midst of a redwood forest.
SANTA CLARA VALLEY MOURVEDRE
Sattler Vineyard is a dinky little backyard situation where grapes really have to struggle to ripen so this pretty creature is picked lean with a wicked charming happy-go-lucky character!
SANTA CLARA VALLEY COUNOISE
Another opportunity to champion the unloved! Sattler Vineyard was having a hard time finding a home for their bumper crop of Counoise and though Megan was a little reticent she loves the wine so much she’s gonna scoop up as much as she can next time round. “It’s the closest thing I’ve made to a chillable red!” Lightly hued, brightly flavored and perfect for springtime.