Tasting notes: This wine is a bit of a contradiction – some fresh and bright purple fruit set against a wall of gritty earth, tobacco, and black pepper skin. While the current Francophilic natural wine framework calls for pop-song juicy fruit, this one is a brooding, seething piece of time, all fore-palate with chewy weight and a quick finish. No sulfites added.
Context: 2018, one month of fire in Lake County. Il Fuoco is a wine trying to capture that, the frustrating sense of the 2018 season, and a sense of powerless awe as fire wrapped 180 degrees around the vineyard and Clear Lake and those sleepless nights. It made sense to not add any constraining sulfites and suffer their normalizing effects here.
Winemaking: These are the press fractions from our Sangiovese, Primitivo, and Dolcetto. Press wine is higher in tannin and lower in acid. As the skins are pressed, deeper more visceral elements come out. In this case without the lighter, fresher fruit of the free-run juice.
Vintage: Ah 2018. It started off fast and furious. We avoided the drenching rain of 2017 and as summer came it got hotter and hotter. 3 weeks of 100-degree days, and just as the vines started to look tired, then came a wall of fire on July 28th that eventually consumer 400,000 acres. And then came magical cooling for months, slow-ripening 82-degree perfection. What became a great season was marred by the specter of smoke, and this bottle takes that reality head-on.
Label Image: Johann Mylius was a composer, physician and ardent alchemist. His Philosophia Reformata was a deep dive into what he considered scientific principles. “Here are the components of the secret fire: the fiery water and the watery fire which, excited by the ordinary elemental fire, cause the birds to fly.” Secret fire is the fourth form of fire, external to objects, and part of the alchemist’s spirit.
Sangiovese, Primitivo, Dolcetto
All fermented separately, then blended at bottling in equal ratios
3 neutral 225l barrels used for aging, mostly 6-12 year old thin stave French and Hungarian oak
70 cases produced