2020 Bedrock Wine Co., Evangelho Vineyard Heritage Red, Contra Costa County.
The latest releases from Bedrock are exceptional and have a sense of lightness and grace, traits not always found in Zinfandel based wines with the 2020 Evangelho Vineyard Hermitage Red showing wonderfully already, delivering a beautiful balance of fruit intensity and its underlying grip of tannic structure. This vintage shines with a rich array of flavors on the full bodied palate, it flows with black raspberry, dark plum, tart blueberry, currant and kirsch along with lovely florals, mineral and spice, adding anise, lavender, a subtle earthiness, sandal wood and lingering mure. The Evangelho Heritage is a field blend of Zinfandel, Mataro (Mourvedre) and Carignan from this historic vineyard originally planted in the 1890s, in the Contra Costa and each of these varietals plays a vital role, even though the Zinfandel has the leading role here. Ancient granitic sand was deposited on the edge of the Sacramento River Delta in an area that stretches from the eastern edge of Antioch to the far side of Oakley, where Evangelho is located. The winery notes, that over 130 years ago, people started planting grapevines, almonds, apricots, and other fruit in these deep, well-drained sandy soils. This vineyard got its name In 1936, when Manuel Evangelho purchased some of these grapevines, which he farmed his entire life before passing them to his son Frank. Twain-Peterson adds that Frank farmed the vineyard with care and purpose until 2017, when he sold it to Morgan, who also has the famed Bedrock Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley, which is lucky for all of us California wine enthusiasts as this gem of a vineyard is in good hands that respect the past and will keep it in good health for generations to come. In the 2020 vintage, Bedrock says that the Mataro did especially well and helped form the backbone here while the Carignan gave a real crunch and aromatic quality to the wine, all the while the Zin confidently performs its dominance with elegance, this is exceptional stuff.
The winemaking here at Bedrock remains faithful to their beliefs, made with simple low intervention traditional methods that showcase the vineyards first and foremost with Morgan Twain-Peterson MW saying “overly sculpted by activist winemakers tend to be less satisfying and soulful gustatory experiences..” Of which I totally agree and is a reason why that this winery has been elevated to the top echelon of California wine and Bedrock is one of my favorites, especially these Heritage Reds. The Bedrock reds are produced in most cases with natural uninoculated fermentations, native malolactic, and with the use of whole clusters in fermentation, the wine is left to do its thing with gentle attention along the way without additions. They take great care to use the best aging vessels as possible, preferring only to use quality oak in the aging process, using barriques and larger casks when the wine demands it. Really, Bedrock focuses on the individual vineyard and what it needs in each vintage, saying at the core of all of their wines is allowing these sites and grapes a stage to show ideal ripeness, freshness and aromatics, which this dark purple/garnet hued 2020 Evangelho Heritage shows to near perfection. This 2020, while taut and youthful at first opens up nicely and enjoys plenty of freshness with natural acidity providing a pleasing lift, giving this blend crisp detailing to go along with the concentration and depth of fruit. Peterson explains the vintage, saying the Evangelho Vineyard was cropped at the lowest levels in over twenty years, and the resulting wine is dense, with deft nuance, and is full of energy. He adds that the natural freshness in this year’s wine was imparted by the cooling afternoon winds and the pure sandy soils, resulting in a wine that knits the juiciness of the Zinfandel with the savory/meaty elements of the Mataro and bright vibrancy of the Carignan. Considering all the areas that saw devastating fire and smoke in 2020, this wine is real treasure, and I highly recommend it, along with all of the Bedrock offerings.
($45 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive