Birdhorse Wines 2020 Valdiguié, Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA - DECANTsf

Birdhorse Wines 2020 Valdiguié, Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA

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Birdhorse Wines 2020 Valdiguié, Calistoga, Napa Valley, CA


Winemakers: Corinne Rich & Katie Rouse

Terroir: The Frediani Vineyard is located in Calistoga, CA on the north end of the Napa Valley where it has been lovingly cared for by Jim Frediani and his father before him since the early 1900s. Dry-farmed and sustainably farmed, the vines for this wine were planted over 50 years ago. The Bale clay loam soils and hot day time temperatures produce concentrated, lush fruit.

Vinification: For this wine, it was back to our experimental side. Two-thirds of the grapes were fermented with 50% whole clusters in an open-top bin and pressed off to neutral oak. The final one-third, we sealed up in a fully-anaerobic fermentation vessel (i.e., a giant food grade plastic-bag) and left alone for two weeks. This was then pressed off and blended with the rest. Minimal sulfur added

Tasting notes:

A wine that lays it all out on the line, the 2020 Valdiguié is bursting with black raspberries, olallieberries, pomegranates and cranberries. A resinous, fresh undertone wraps everything into balance.

On the palate, juicy berries and a hint of Chinese five spice combine with a structured palate and supple, chalky texture with just a touch of black licorice on the finish to keep your interest piqued.

From our July 2021 Bottle Club notes:

There’s something about Birdhorse Wines that just keeps us coming back for more. We can almost feel winemakers Katie Rouse and Corrine Rich’s intention-setting ritual each year.  

    Valdiguié (Val-dih-gay)  is a variety that we don’t talk about often, but are starting to see more frequently in bottlings from daring producers in California. Originally hailing from the Languedoc-Roussilon in Southern France, this vine made its way into California and was historically misnamed “Napa Gamay”, mostly because both Valdiguié and Gamay can give dark purple color in the glass and fruity, floral aromas. Sometime in the 1980s, it was discovered that this vine was not in fact Gamay, and much was torn out and replanted to other varieties that could earn a higher price. 

    In Calistoga, the hot, northernmost AVA of the Napa Valley, the Frediani Vineyard has been caring for some of the oldest Valdiguié vines in California. For over 50 years, these vines have been sustainably dry-farmed and lovingly cared for. The lack of irrigation, cool clay soils, an abundance of summer heat, and old, low-yielding vines create the perfect conditions to make deeply concentrated, highly aromatic wines. 

    For the 2020 vintage of this wine, the Birdhorse folx went a little experimental. 

Two-thirds of the grapes were fermented with 50% whole clusters in an open-top bin and pressed off to neutral oak. The final one-third was sealed up in a fully anaerobic fermentation vessel (carbonic maceration!) and left alone for two weeks. This was then pressed off and blended with the rest. This mix of whole-cluster juice with a firm tannin structure blended in with the light and fruity carbonic juice results in a truly quaffable and silky palate experience. 

    Enjoy this wine slightly chilled to enhance the flavors of violets, Chinese five-spice, and black raspberries. We love this wine with Saint Louis-style spare ribs, Japanese yakisoba, and Indian-spiced kabobs!

— Cara Patricia


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