Bedrock Wine Co. Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Contra Costa County 2013

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Bedrock is one of my favourite US producers. They focus on heritage vineyards, field blends, and ensuring proper acidity and balance in the wines made from the very intense, high potential sugar grapes they work with. Astonishingly, Bedrock was a one man operation of owner Morgan Twain-Peterson for the first six years after founding in 2007. Twain-Peterson is now working with Chris Cottrell, doubling his work force. In seriousness, the quality and variety of wines coming from a mere two humans is extremely impressive.

The Evangelho Vineyard

The number of wines Bedrock makes each year is very broad. It also varies. This breadth seems to attract divided attention from the mainstream wine publications – some attracting low 90’s scores and others lower. All this continues to demonstrate how useless such scores are. Case in point – this wine scored 89 points from the wine advocate, which for my palate is way off base.

Twain-Peterson is also clearly dedicated to his sites and excited to express his views. I particularly enjoyed his thoughts on this wine, found on Bedrock’s website:

“Planted in the 1890s. If the success of the 2011 was blind luck (show up with a truck in the wee hours of morning in a place I had never been based on the tip of a friend), and 2012 was the first effort of following an entire year’s worth of farming and coming to understand the unique conditions of Antioch and Oakley, then 2013 is a wine that reflects a better understanding of the site. Evangelho lies just inland from the Sacramento River Delta on banks of sand that can reach 40 feet in depth. Though a warm area there is rarely a day that passes without a serious wind—very much like a Californian Mistral and the antecedent to the fog coming through the Golden Gate—racing through the vineyard. This causes the vines to shut down for much of the hot afternoons, and the result is a wine that seemingly defies conventional wisdom when it comes warm weather sites. Evangelho is the earliest-picked vineyard by weeks in the winery, but it is tends to be the lowest in pH and alcohol of the Heritage Wines. This means that the crackling red fruit of Carignane, unctuousness of Zinfandel, and terrestrial perfume of Mourvedre is held aloft by an underlying brightness. Yet another unique terroir only found in this great State.”

I very much agree with his comments on freshness – this is remarkably juicy and crunchy for an old vine mixed-blacks blend from California.

The vineyard is in the midst of urban development, with power lines and pipelines running through it. It gets slowly eaten away by the City’s Eminent Domain expropriation powers and one day it is likely it will cease to exist. For now, fruit form the Evangelho vineyard (as you can tell by the name, the family that founded it and still farms it is Portuguese) remains coveted by some of the state’s top producers.

The Wine

Early picking is a hallmark of Bedrock’s wines. I find them resultingly more aromatic than the norm. The wines are idiosyncratic as a result of Twain-Peterson’s choice not to sort the fruit for most of his wines. Instead, he focuses all his attention in the vineyard and prefers to let the mix of fruit brought in from the vineyard express a less filtered ‘terroir’.

As for the wine – it’s fresh and delicious and characterful. It is in the class of Ridge – very high praise from me. I paired it with Vietnamese braised pork and eggplant in a dark soy and five spice based sauce – a perfect and unique pairing.

$44 USD at Compass Wines, WA


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