2019 Dirty & Rowdy, Barbera, Mendocino County.
The dark purple/garnet and juicy Mendocino County Barbera from Hardy Wallace and Dirty & Rowdy begs for a steaming mass of pasta and spicy fresh tomato sauce and or in my case that and a plate of spring zucchini, squash and country potatoes with hot link sausage, with a classic Barbera vibrance, mineral tone and exciting black fruits. The Dirty & Rowdy Barbera is remarkably well done and refreshingly low in natural alcohol, showing a rustic charm and lively acidity that makes it very Piedmonte like in its delightful and food friendly personality, it is wine that you can start as you start cooking and enjoy well past the last bite, in fact its only problem is that it goes down easy, too easy and makes you sad when the bottle is found to be empty on the table, a wine that leaves you smiling and wanting more. This 2019 vintage, Dirty & Rowdy’s first go with this grape, is full of crushed blackberry, tart currant, plum and black cherry fruits that is excitingly whole cluster crunchy and is accented with savory elements, herbs and a nice touch of tartness with hints of minty, anise and forest floor, woodsy notes. As it opens this fun wine turns up the jam with some pretty floral detail and a touch of lingering pomegranate, all the while just comfortable listening to your happy conversations without a needy desire to take your attention away from welcome moments of laughter, this is the best kind of company a bottle can be.

Dirty & Rowdy, founded in about 2010 by the Wallace and Graham family with Matt Graham and Hardy Wallace running this Mourvedre obsessed micro winery based in Sonoma’s little Eggs ’n Butter town of Petaluma and are one of the most successful natural wine labels in California with a following the the band Phish would be jealous of! Working with some of California’s most historic Mourvedre (Mataro) old vine vineyard sites, like the Enz Vineyard in Lyme Kiln Valley and Evangelho Vineyard in Contra Costa, along with another handful of quality organic or sustainable vineyards from Santa Barbara to Mendocino as well as the Sierra Foothills with its granite and Monterey’s chalky limestone at Chalone, all make these Dirty & Rowdy Mourvedre(s) serious and compelling wines, but far from a one trick pony they also do an incredible GSM (or MSG) blend, this new and absolutely delicious old vine Barbera, plus the hipster Orange wine and a fabulous Semillon. The wines are truly made in the vines with the winemaking playing a minor role, except in the case of orange (skin contact) wine that takes some careful attention, with Hardy using almost 100% whole cluster and all spontaneous wild yeast fermentation with zero additions in most cases to promote a rustic, raw and earthy purity. I really wish they had made more of this Barbera, as it sold out way too quickly for my liking, so be sure to grab as many as you can if you see it in the wild!
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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