Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Over and under and all around the radar there exist winemakers who are dedicated to allowing the process of what they do, and the resulting product, completely… be… itself- surrendering the control maintained by conventional winemaking ways such as spraying, selecting yeasts, and using specific equipment. These individual producers who essentially let the wine make itself may be the most artisanal of them all- the craft being in the patience, the risk, the not doing.
May sound like less work, but that is not the case. Rigorous attention must be directed toward creating an environment in the vineyards and cellar/garage/cantina where agriculture and natural activities can truly flourish.
When I think of this school of thought, Coturri Winery comes to the forefront of my mind. Located in the beautiful Sonoma Valley nook of Glen Ellen, Coturri dry farms a number of grape varieties including merlot, zinfandel, and carignane. Nothing is sprayed in the vineyards, not even a speck of sulfur, wine is fermented in barrels covered with a clean white sheet allowing for oxidation, ambient yeasts guide along the vinification.
The wines are sporadic- some loveably weird, others strangely ethereal. Far from usual expectations, far from “normal”, these wines sure are interesting. Unapologetically engaging, something to respect, honest in their eccentricity- how refreshing.