Scholium Project "Rhododactylos" White Wine 2016
Cinsault｜Bechthold Vineyard, Lodi
If you already know of Scholium Project or of the epic history of the Bechthold vineyard, skip ahead now and buy. For those who don't, read on about one of the oldest Cinsault vineyards in the world and a California heritage treasure.
Planted in 1886, these vines are mind-boggling 134 years old. They are also ungrafted, on their own original rootstock – virtually unheard-of. (Most grapevines worldwide must be grafted onto hybrid-American rootstocks to protect against a certain root aphid.) Cinsault is a rugged, vital southern-French grape known for its spicy red cherry and pungent aromatic qualities. In the Bechthold vineyard they are untrellised, dry-farmed, organic, and rugged, resembling gnarly tree trunks more than grape vines.
A lustrous salmon-skin, coppery hue hints at its red-grape provenance. It smells of flint, white roses, honeydew rind, and cherry pit. On the palate it's dry, rocky almost, wrapped around a core of fleshy cherry and raspberry. Unexpected fruit comes out of the finish, held up by bright, clean acid and a hint of the mega old vine tannins. It's a white wine from red grapes, free-run juice pressed quickly off the skins, thereby picking up just a touch of pigment and inheriting some of its red-wine-ness. A red-wine drinker's white wine.
The same year these vines were planted, President Grover Cleveland became the first president to get married in the White House, to a woman 27 years his junior. Just a few months later he dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, commemorated by New York's first ever ticker-tape parade.
This is a natural wine par excellence and a drinkable piece of history. There are only a handful of cases available – move quick to secure yours!