In pursuit of a light-bodied, juicy Sangiovese that would be ready to drink fresh and young, we began experimenting with carbonic fermentation in 2013. Bunches are gently, lovingly placed in small tanks using extra caution not to crush any grapes. By leaving fruit whole, much less skin tannin – and color – is extracted. The light-bodied wine is meant to be drunk fresh.
In 2016, we created the new Carbonic Sangiovese label: Vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano’s black marker writing “Love You Bunches” on a plain, white background. Our goal was to create a whimsical package to match the playful nature of the wine. On the back label, Ruben’s handwriting advises “serve chilled”.
We enjoy “Love You Bunches” Carbonic Sangiovese straight out of the fridge. There’s seldom much left in the bottle by the time the temperature rises – the ultimate party wine – if one bottle is opened, we heartily recommend having at least 5 more bottles cold for backup.
We harvested our two auxiliary vineyards, Crown Point and Estelle, prior to the forecasted Labor Day heat wave as the ripening was further along than Ballard Canyon and we wanted to catch the fruit bright and vibrant. Both of these lots (30% of the final cuvee) were pressed much earlier than the Estate Fruit (70% of the final cuvee) that fermented through dryness in our Carbonic tanks.
In Ballard Canyon, the Labor Day heat sped sugar accumulation up to just around our target brix level of 22. By riding both sides of the heatwave, Ruben and the winemaking team once again nailed the light, mashable profile.
AT THE WINERY
We depend on perfect fruit for the native Carbonic fermentation - Weird things can happen in that sealed tank if there is fungal activity or spoilage! We carefully sort all of the clusters to get rid of any bird or bee damaged fruit. Upon loading the fruit, some grapes are crushed on the bottom of our tanks, and more grapes burst during fermentation. We pull samples of this liquid to measure fermentation progress, and we can assume that fermentation is also occurring within the intact grapes, just slightly behind.
As we empty each tank into the press, we are careful to only “pop and drain” as we don’t want to pull too much skin tannin with a harder pressing of the pomace.
The nose somehow combines bright and fresh cran-raspberry tartness with inviting lushness and depth. Boysenberry and red currents explode in the mouth. Dry with racing acidity, to the point that even a hint of lemon-lime shows up on the finish - the wine is serious enough to be pondered, yet utterly gulpable. We adore this wine here at Stolpman, our “adult fruit punch” or “rose con cojones” – just don’t approach Love You Bunches as a traditional, rich red wine!