Red, White & Kind of Blue @ Solano Cellars Friday, July 5th
Solano Cellars
Friday, July 5th from 5-8pm
Flight of 6 for $25 ($15 Club)

A failed cult; the eerie mythos of rural Northern California; a herd of camels corralled by the watchful eyes of replicas of Michelangelo’s “David"; an Israeli-born, Paris-based painter looking for a new purpose; and a unicorn vineyard in the Sierra Foothills that provided exactly the purpose he was seeking: that's the story of Gideon Beinstock, The Renaissance Vineyard, and Clos Saron, arguably California's original natural wine, and a story that could only have happened here.


When Gideon Beinstock stumbled on a pamphlet for The Fellowship of Friends - a community founded in Berkeley in the 1960s - lodged in the pages of Gurdjieff's The Fourth Way, he was ready to make a change in his life. He attended a meeting in Paris where he was working as an artist, found himself drawn to their ideals, and soon after uprooted his life in France to settle in Oregon House, a town in the Sierra Foothills with fewer than 1500 people and where the Fellowship called home. For over a decade, he was fully immersed in the search for enlightenment that the Fellowship promised, surrounded by artists and others with an appetite for the bizarre; he also worked tirelessly in the Renaissance vineyard where the group's headquarters, Apollo, was located. At first, the vineyard was mostly an afterthought. But after a UC Davis student and Fellowship member consulted with a prominent German winegrower, the group threw themselves into planting new vines throughout the amphitheater vineyard, starting with 10-15 acres, then ramping up to almost 100 acres per year. By the time Gideon arrived, the Fellowship was madly, hopelessly committed to winemaking. It was a contagious enthusiasm, and when the time came to designate a new head winemaker, Gideon emerged as the obvious successor.
In the early 1990s, Gideon reimagined what wines from Renaissance were capable of - gone were the days of bruising, darkly ripened fruits, passed over in favor of a lighter touch and a greater nuance (and crucially, extended aging time in barrel and in bottle before release). But faced with a growing unease about the Fellowship, the time came to disengage from the group and set out on his own. He didn't go far - he and his wife, Saron Rice, traveled further down the slope of the mountain and established Clos Saron, where they found soils and climate more suited to Pinot Noir and Rhone varieties than the Bordeaux varieties he worked with at Renaissance.  He took with him the patient approach to winemaking he had employed during his time with the Fellowship, allowing his wines to ferment slowly and happily without inoculation or temperature control, holding releases until they're ready to drink, not when the market demands it. Above all, he remains a farmer, tending organically and entirely by hand his Home Vineyard and small plots that he works with along the hillside.
Gideon's releases at Clos Saron quickly established him as a new icon in California wine - in an era that was still dominated by the overly ripened, burley wines that garnered high scores at the expense of nuance and terroir expression, Gideon produced unapologetically singular wine that eschewed every one of those trends. His reds are marked by an almost feral elegance, with charred earth and savory undertones providing a foil for the lush fruit that the Sierra Foothills provides; his whites are structured and serious, with striking, savory umami throughout. Simply put - Gideon makes wines unlike any other, a complete American original who has inspired a generation of winemakers after him to find their own search for enlightenment in the remote vineyards in the Sierra Foothills.
On Friday, we're celebrating Gideon and his influence, with a lineup of Clos Saron (some from Gideon's personal library!) and a selection of bottles from the winemakers he took under his wing over the years - including Frenchtown Farms, La Onda, and Oest. 
The Lineup:
Clos Saron "Carte Blanche" 2013
Clos Saron "Kind of Blue" 2013
Clos Saron "Kind of Blue" 2020
Clos Saron "Black Pearl" Sierra Foothills 2015
Clos Saron Taken from Granite "Swan Song" Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Clos Saron "Tête à Tannat" 2017
More library selections available for special order!
Past events