The name Wind Gap is an ode to the fractures of land along the California coastline which allow fog and cool ocean air to impact vineyard sites; this estate is placed on one of six such wind gaps in the state. For this wine, the word Soif was chosen - a French word which translates to 'thirst' - and the hands-off, European style depicted in this wine is undeniable.
Subtle nuances of baking spices and blackberry dance around bold, dark fruits while tart cherry helps lay foundation on the palate.
Crushing grapes by foot, whole-cluster fermentation and the use of native yeasts are all points of pride for Wind Gap, and together they help produce vibrant wines with highly-drinkable characteristics.
It might be smart to buy more than one, just so you don’t go thirsty.
2015 Soif (SRP - $30)
4 & 1/2 swirls
Good things take time, and they often require a little digging. The folks at Lioco scour the coast of California for optimal vineyards to source their fruit, and from there a rather non-obtrusive practice is taken in getting the fruit into the bottle.
Sativa is one of their creations - its fruit sourced from Pine Mountain in the Mendocino mountains from dry-dry farmed vines with southern exposure - and it is made up of 100% Carignan grapes.
The energy in this bottle is sure to wake up your senses. With grapes hand-picked by an 86 year-old man, named Jim McCutchen, Sativa is a layered, yet focused wine with fruit attributes of blackberries, cassis, and violet and floral components on the palate. More simply, it has an uncanny resemblance to fresh blueberry pie.
100% whole cluster fermentation and foot treading are among the natural practices taken in making this wine; Lioco also cites European influences in their wine-making technique across the board. The production is rather limited but if you can get your hands on a bottle, odds are you'll remember it.
2014 Sativa (SRP - $30)
The Pacific Northwest will never be Burgundy, but it is about as close to the prized sliver of France as any wine producing region of the United States will ever be. In Dundee, Oregon, a winery by the name of Winderlea focuses on producing Pinot noir and Chardonnay in small lots with minimal intervention - sound familiar?
Winderlea's chardonnay sees a little under one year in French Oak, which allows a compromise of fruit - citrus and ripe pear - as well as a body that is creamy, round and laced with notes of toasted sweet bread, to shine. The minerality is also assertive enough to give this wine an edge.
As the shift toward new-old world styles of wine making continues to grow in the US, this wine is a prime example of what happens when that marriage is achieved.
2011 Chardonnay - (SRP - $38)
When a word like 'Consecration' is tossed onto a label, there's reason for pause. Russian River Brewery out of California releases this sour Dark Ale (aged in American oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with currants) in limited quantities and by season. While I wouldn't go so far as to decree this beer worthy of the veins of a holy one, it does have a few rather transformative qualities that deserve some praise.
Vinegar and sour prunes mend with underpinning notes of wood and nuts, together creating an uncanny resemblance to the ever-popular Worcestershire sauce. But, this beer has more than just a strikingly similar profile to a table condiment.
The aforementioned layers unfold to reveal cedar from a humidor and that nuttiness leans closer to the kind found in a Fino sherry. With some time in the glass, faint notes of smoke and damp earth also emerge, though the sour bite and dark fruit don't fail to hold up.
Consecration would be able to hang with some tangy, sharp cheeses or simply be enjoyed by the 'sour heads' of the beer world. Either way, it's complex and obscure and suited for any special occasion.
(ABV - 10%) (SRP - $14)
4 & 1/2 swirls
Keep it coming, that's what I say. Admittedly, rose wines seldom spark some revelation or even resinate beyond the evening for me, but there are exceptions to every rule.
The land plot, located in Napa Valley, utilizes high elevation plots and the region's cool climate to extract strikingly high acid levels; ultimately that characteristic made this Keep Rose more of a thinker than just a drinker.
Sour cherry and ripe pineapples dominate the nose - among the intrinsic herbal and lavender notes - while fresh strawberries and key lime dance along the palate.
This wine calls for food, but it's the balance between rich and racy which makes it so darling.
2016 Rose (SRP - $23)
It starts with the water, and from there Colorado craft beer seems to have an edge on other states when it comes to producing consistently drinkable brews (this theory continues to be tested).
Ska Brewery, out of Durango, CO, iconizes a few of their hop-forward beers with a trio of suited men with oranges for heads. This IPA - Modus Mandrina - sits at a deceptive 6.8% abv., and can very easily go to your head if you try drinking all six in one sitting.
An enticing palate includes juicy, fruit forward notes of orange and orange peel up front, while the beer rounds out with a piney edge to keep true to its Mandrina Bavaria hop roots. That juiciness, however, isn't over-concentrated or sappy like some fruit-centric ales, and instead works with the inherent tangerine and citrus notes of these particular hops to create a balanced, and still refreshing, drinking experience.
Modus Mandrina is not everywhere, but if you can find it on the shelves this beer is worth the money.
(ABV: 6.8%) (SRP - $9.49 - we got ours on sale for $7.99)
Literally translating to "Day of Thirst", this wine under the name of 'Jour De Soif' from the Loire Valley is an elegant example of un-filtered Cabernet Franc. Brimming with energy and complexity, this wine employs native yeasts and shines with flavors that are not bruising but rather juicy and graceful with depth and clarity.
One whiff would evoke memories of walking through a garden lush with wild berries after a rainfall - wet dirt hides below dark fruit and an herbal after note.
Tasting brings out similar elements - particularly a pinch of sour cherries and dark plum. Green pepper and thyme strike through, meanwhile.
She's a little dirty, but boy is she pretty.
While the body leans on the lighter side, faint tannins and a marked acidity are ever present. Drink it with light fare like ceviche or soft, mild cheeses. Thirst for this one, she's worth the money.
2015 Gauthier Bourgeil Jour De Soif
(SRP - $17)