“At the end of the day,” say the founders of Little Trouble Wine Co., “we’re two best pals who are thrilled to share our labor of love and sweat and roadside sandwiches with you.”
If that doesn’t sound like a wine to enjoy on a Saturday afternoon or evening, I don’t know what does. Friends. Labor of love. Sweat. Roadside sandwiches. All wrapped up with wine.
Count me in, specifically for the 2021 Technicolor Table Wine from Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino County, created by Jennifer Reichardt and Sara Morgenstern of Little Trouble Wine Co.
Some of you may recognize Reichardt from her popular Raft Wines as well as her family’s Liberty Duck poultry business, and Morgenstern from Killer Quail Wines, all based in California’s North Coast, an hour or two north of San Francisco. The thread running through those enterprises, straight into Reichardt and Morgenstern’s partnership to create Little Trouble Wine Co., is a sense of joy and friendship, with wine as a vehicle to tie those things together.
It sounds both idyllic and romantic, and knowing those details certainly added to my own experience earlier this week of opening the bottle, pouring a taste, and sampling the wine: it’s a break from the rigors of the day, a hiatus from Zoom and screens, and a welcome reprieve from the general weight and anxiety overwhelming our news feeds.
In other words, it’s a breath of fresh air in the form of wine and metaphor. Images (romantic though they may be) of the California coast? Recognition of the hard work and sweat happening in the vineyards? Pulling over for roadside sandwiches with friends?
I’m here for it, even in my imagination, 2500 miles away. It is, as the caption on the bottle’s front label reads, “A Place to Feel Good.”
Your knowledge of the wine could very well end right there, at the level of imagination and the good vibes that go along with it. If you wanted to also ground the experience in the reality of the wine’s production, here are three themes with additional details to know.
Blend of Thirteen Grapes
Have a look at this list of the 13 grapes that comprise the 2021 Technicolor Table Wine: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Trousseau, Mencia, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Albariño, Alvarinho, Pinot Meunier, Vermentino, Picpoul, Greco di Tufo and Verdejo.
How many are already familiar to you? How many names had you never heard before? What exactly is the difference between Albariño and Alvarinho? Could you also guess the grapes’ origins, and how they came to be grown or sourced throughout California? There’s a narrative to them all, blended together in the glass.
“Low intervention” as a descriptor of wine has become a point of argument and contention that’s quite contrary to the intent and spirit of the phrase. At its most essential, I understand “low intervention” to mean that the grape growers and winemakers have interfered as little as possible as they shepherded the wine from vineyard to glass.
For this Technicolor Table Wine, low intervention is expressed on the label as unfined and unfiltered, with an alert that a slight deposit of sediment may naturally occur. You may have also noticed in the list of 13 grapes above that some grapes are red and some are white; for this wine, the red grapes were direct pressed while the white grapes were divided into direct press and skin contact.
Alder Springs Vineyard
Here’s where the dramatic northern California coastline comes in, and all that idyllic, romantic imagery takes root in reality. The Alder Springs Vineyard is located 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean (think steep terrain and extreme conditions) and about 150 miles north of San Francisco. It’s where owner/farmer Stu Bewley chose to plant and grow several different (and lesser-known) grape varieties. Reichardt and Morgenstern source their fruit from two experimental nursery blocks on the vineyard, which allows them to work with a wide array of varieties.