2014 Ferdinand Albarino

Winery

Because just seven or eight grape varieties dominate California wine production (for example, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris account for 69% of all white wine grapes), one might not notice a growing trend toward non-traditional grape varieties. However, more and more growers and winemakers are either rediscovering varieties that once played a role in California’s past (e.g. Petite Sirah or Mourvèdre)  or are experimenting with grapes (e.g. Nebbiolo, Aglianico) that have rarely travelled beyond their home regions. Ferdinand Wines is one such winery setting out on this path. Founder Evan Frazier got his start in winemaking when he spent the 2006 harvest in the village of Maury, in Southwest France, where he did everything from picking and processing grapes to working in the cellar. With the Spanish border just a few kilometers away, the local grapes were Grenache and Carignan - aka Garnacha and Mazuelo. The experience left him with not only a desire to become a professional winemaker but also an appreciation for Spanish wines and grape varieties. Back in the United States, Frazier landed a job with the Konsgaard Winery, maker of high-end Napa Valley Chardonnay. But, in 2010, when he was offered a ton of Albariño from the Vista Luna Vineyard in Lodi, he jumped at the chance to work with the aromatic grape of Galicia. Today he is the General Manager at Konsgaard, but he is able to use his employer’s facilities to also make his own wines based on Spanish varieties. Ferdinand currently makes just three wines: the Tempranillo and Albariño offered by Hotei Wines as well as a Grenache/Carignan blend. With production at less than 1,400 cases, Ferdinand Wines is more artisan winemaker than “boutique” winery. The grapes come from growers in Lodi and the Sierra Foothills that specialize in under-the-radar grape varieties. The wines are crafted by hand, in small lots, fermented on native yeasts and with low sulphur additions. While grape varieties like Albariño and Tempranillo are but tiny drops in the bucket of California vineyards, winemakers like Evan Frazier show us that California can give us so much more than the ubiquitous Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Wine

This Albariño features the lime zest aromatics and salinity one might find in a Galician wine but barrel fermentation and eight month’s lees aging also gives it savoriness and a rounded mouthfeel to balance out its natural acidity and freshness. It was sourced from the Vista Luna Vineyard in the Borden Ranch AVA, a part of the greater Lodi AVA that runs up into the Sierra Foothills. This crisp wine will pair well with shellfish or sashimi.

Winemaking

Barrel fermented and aged eight months in neutral French oak. 

Appellation

Borden Ranch (Lodi)

Varietal

Albariño

Size

750ml

Closure

Cork

Alcohol

13.0%

MLF

100%

UPC

NONE