East Bay Pride... on the Wild Side!
For only $22! Get it here.
TL;DR: Because 1) There's zero chance you find another 100% organic, small-farm-in-Sonoma-sourced, Cab/Merlot blend of this quality... and at this price!; 2) A small handful of wineries in Berkeley aside, this is about as local as local wine gets! 3) It's as suited for natural wine lovers as it is for old-school aficionados of easy-drinking, weeknight-priced Cali Cabs! (B/c whether you chill it like a hipster or grill with it like an oldster, it's a beaut!).
But — weirdly, interestingly? — the East Bay plays an outsized role in both Californian vineyard history (some plausibly argue that California's single greatest "Grand Cru" vineyard is in Antioch, CA)... and in California's surging natural winemaking scene. A recent Wine Enthusiast article, e.g. — one that gave little-old-us a loving shout-out (thank you!) — pointed out that the city of Berkeley itself is a huge player here, mentioning local friends and partners of ours like Broc, Donkey and Goat, Vinca Minor, et al.
As much as we like ourselves a good ol' dose of Berkeleycentric thinking? We'd like to suggest that their next article should head a mere five miles east... to Orinda!
Sexy Like Orinda: Diego and Shaunt in a suburban basement
Orinda-Say-What-Now?! Indeed! Ten years back or so, the tiny commuter suburb of 18,000 suddenly found itself hosting an outsized percentage of the next generation of Californian winemakers! A fellowship of friends famously found fertile ground here, farming and fermenting as a foursome: Martha Stoumen, Sam Baron, Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig.
While the first two eventually left to create their own labels... Shaunt (who trained with Julie Balagny in Beaujolais, inter alia) and Diego (who apprenticed with COS in Sicily, i.a.) stayed in Orinda, launching wine projects (Les Lunes, Populis) that are now famous the country over for organically farmed, classically Californian lovelies from historic vineyards... at pre-inflationary prices! A mere two critically acclaimed projects weren't enough for an incontinent duo like Shaunt and Diego, though... so naturally they gave birth to a third: Licorne Mechante.
Wine Warriors of Orinda
French for 'Angry Unicorn', Licorne Mechante is Shaunt & Diego's slightly more outré, 100% pleasure-focused project (as Shaunt says, "this is our 'for mature audiences only' label" )... and their newest release is the L'Ours Reposé: a red blend sourced entirely from two organically farmed vineyards in Sonoma County. A blend of Cab (43%), Merlot (43%), and Syrah (the rest)... this is not remotely like any version of that you've had before. Instead of being rich, extracted and blowsy, this is a Cab blend that's fresh and light on its feet (it weighs in at a mere 12.5% ABV!), and as silky as it is bright. Think: black raspberries, tart blueberries, a hint of black figs, and all the nervy acidity of that wine you had at that bistro in Lyon, the one they served slightly chilled in a carafe. Yeah.
This is that wine: the one that reminds you that you still live in a very cool place... where French and Sicilian-trained natural wine wizards make Angry Unicorns in their basement! Get yourself your very own lazy bear while you can!
(This is very limited... and at this price, it won't be around long!)
2020 Licorne Mechante
East Bay Pride on the Wild Side!
For only $22! Get it here.