2021 Âmevive, Tempranillo/Graciano “Cariño” Iberra-Young Vineyard, Los Olivos District AVA, Santa Barbara County.
There’s a lot to admire and get excited about with these new Âmevive offerings, hand crafted by Alice Anderson, especially this Cariño Tinto, made from classic Rioja grapes, 77% Tempranillo and 23% Graciano that were co-fermented using indigenous yeasts and partial whole bunches and stems, making for a lively and spicy lighter framed red wine. This vivid ruby magenta hued 2021 version is highly aromatic with floral tones and showcases bright red fruits in the glass with layers of black cherry, tangy plum, raspberry and cranberry fruits leading the way on the silky, but energy filled palate, along with snappy herbs, anise, subtle wood notes, mineral tones and a peppery pop. The Iberra-Young Vineyard Vineyard was originally planted by Charlotte Young back in 1971 and is still owned by her three daughters and farmed by the youthful winemaker Alice Anderson, who employs regenerative organic and biodynamic practices. The vineyard was first planted to Syrah and Mourvèdre in 1971, then Young and Iberra added Marsanne in 1973, and later suitcase clones of Tempranillo and Graciano came in the late 90’s. Everything on the property is own-rooted, safely with the sandy soils, and has been farmed organically since 1993. The Âmevive name translates to soulful and or the living soul, as mentioned in my earlier reviews, and in winemaker Alice Anderson’s case it means to live soulfully with nature, with her wines, like this one, being an authentic and transparent extension of that. This Cariño was fabulous with a simple pizza and provided hours of fine sipping enjoyment, reminding me of some natural modern styled early drinking Riojas I’ve had recently.

Alice Anderson’s estate grown Tempranillo y Graciano Cariño red wine, coming from her organic Ibarra-Young Vineyard located in the Los Olivos District AVA, in the Santa Ynez Valley area of Santa Barbara County with its sandy loam soils and semi-cool climate that contributes to the ripe, but fresh flavor profile here. The Cariño is a co-ferment of the Pesquera clone Tempranillo and Graciano, which are from the late 90’s plantings at Ibarra-Young, that were added by Qupe’s Bob Lindquist. The Pesquera Tempranillo block at Ibarra-Young is an own-rooted suitcase clone originating from the famous Bodega Pesquera in the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. Alice started the Tempranillo fermentation using about 60% whole cluster, and jokes that she might be loony to do so, but it seriously works well in this wine, adding complexity and a spicy personality. After 10 days, after the Tempranillo harvest and maceration, Anderson picked a few rows of Graciano, that was de-stemmed and added on top of the Tempranillo ferment. Alice says the Graciano adds the acid backbone to her Cariño red, adding that Tempranillo doesn’t typically have this fresh acidity on its own. After pressing the must in the basket press, the Âmevive Cariño was then aged almost a year in neutral French oak barrels. This tank settled wine, only 93 cases made, was bottled totally unfined and unfiltered, all of the winemaking here was to allow the terroir to shine through with pure clarity. These Âmevive reds are very low in natural alcohol, with this one coming at just 11.3%, and are wonderfully quaffable, great with food, they enjoy having a slight chill on them too, making them lovely for warm days and these Summer evenings. Alice and her partner Topher are just getting started and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next from this label over the next 5 to 10 years after trying their impressive first two vintages.
($34 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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