2016 Calder Wine Co. Carignane

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First line of my tasting note on this wine? An all-caps exclamation: "GREAT, GREAT CASE FOR CALIFORNIAN WINEMAKING!" Winemaker Rory Williams has winemaking in his blood (son of Napa great, John Williams, the force behind Frogs Leap and one of the earliest and loudest advocates for dry farming), but has never been one to rest on his laurels, and his naturally made, old-vine Mendocino Carignane is the kind of thing I imagine making his papa half-proud, half-jealous. Sourced from two, minerally-AF old-vine vineyards (the quartz-flecked Rovera and the all-gravel Cemetery Vineyard). Spicy, black-fruited, and nigh-beguiling, this is a wine we'd take to southern France to throw down with. Hands down vote for most old-school-Cali-soulful red of the end-of-the-pandemic era.

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