We began producing Carbonic Sangiovese in 2013 in an effort to make a fresh, delicious version of Sangiovese. Sangiovese as a grape, is both highly tannic and high in acid – a one-two combination that can deliver a whopping blow to the palate. Before we experimented with carbonic fermentation, we intentionally picked Sangiovese on the ripe side to allow for tannins and acids to soften. Then we aged the wine in barrel for 30 months and another 6 months in bottle prior to release. The extended age allowed for the tannin and acid to integrate, as the fruit profile and mid-palate richness enveloped any harshness on the finish.
Carbonic Fermentation – allowing the grapes to ferment whole, uncrushed in a sealed tank– allows for a red wine containing only a fraction of the tannin present in a traditionally fermented red wine. Without the threat of an overly tannic wine, we can pick earlier, at lower sugar. Because we don’t need to wait for integration, we bottle the wine within a few months of harvest, locking in the fresh, un-oxidized profile.
In 2016 we re-branded Carbonic Sangiovese “Love You Bunches” – a pun on the gentle treatment of the whole grape bunches. All grapes must be kept intact through fermentation. Of course, the simple, whimsical label is the perfect fit for this fun, happy wine. The label shows off vineyard manager and Grape Whisperer, Ruben Solorzano’s beautiful penmanship.
Heat spikes define vintages in Santa Barbara County. We are blessed to farm without fear of rain, rot, hail, and humidity. In 2018 the only heat wave we suffered through arrived so early, on July 7; that it didn’t impact the fruit ripening or quality. The summer turned into a moderate, steady, dream year when acids hung high as sugar slowly accumulated and intense, nuanced flavor developed.
Instead of harvesting carbonic Sangiovese grapes in August and September, all 2018 picks occurred in October. As the weather continued to cool, more and more flavor developed.
Despite the longer hang-time, the 2018 profile is the brightest and zippiest yet. Lighter in color, 2018 Love You Bunches leans more towards the profile of a rose wine than a red. Terms like crushable, mashable, glug-glug, glou-glou… all fit the downright deliciousness of this wine. Red notes of fresh-picked, juicy cherry and berry ride high over ruby grapefruit and zesty tangerine. Don’t forget to drink it cold, during the day (or all night with most any cuisine), and don’t be caught with just one bottle in the cooler – it will be empty in a flash and your guests will demand more!
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