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Houndstooth, “Rorick Heritage Vineyard” BarberaCalaveras County, Sierra Foothills, California 2017 (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

Houndstooth, “Rorick Heritage Vineyard” Barbera Calaveras County, Sierra Foothills, California 2017 (750mL)

“Whereas a lot of California Barbera can be massive in scale, this one has the pep and freshness of some of the most classic expressions from Piedmont, Italy. California really can do it all!”

Kelli White and Scott Brenner are the (married, with children) sommeliers who built the award-winning wine program at PRESS Restaurant in St. Helena, California, among other accomplishments (Kelli is the author of “Napa Valley Then & Now”). Houndstooth is their passion project, launched in 2011, focused on small-lot wines sourced from select vineyards across Northern California. Their experience cultivating the lengthy PRESS wine served them well in identifying the best plots to showcase in their wines: This Barbera is grown by California wine celebrity Matthew Rorick in Murphys, California, in the heart of the Sierra Foothills AVA. 

Purchased by Matthew Rorick (Forlorn Hope Wines) in 2013, the Rorick Heritage Vineyard does indeed have “heritage.” The site was first farmed by the Shaw family in 1844. It was later acquired by Barden Stevenot, who planted Chardonnay in the 1970s and continued to expand the vineyard’s acreage and varietal mix. Located within the Sierra Foothills AVA, this organically farmed vineyard (now 75 acres) reaches to elevations of 2,000 feet and boasts a cool, “continental” climate. Soils combine schist and limestone.

About one-third of the must was fermented in used oak puncheons with whole grape clusters intact; it was then aged in those same puncheons and bottled after about 18 months. Shining a satisfyingly deep ruby-garnet in the glass, the wine leads with lots of saturated fruit aromas, including black and red cherry, black raspberry, rose petals, dried herbs, and turned earth. Medium-plus in body, with good concentration and a taut structure. It finishes with a crisp, mineral twang, lending it good compatibility with food. Try it with burgers or steaks off the grill, Sicilian-style pizza, or baked pastas.

  • CountryUnited States
  • RegionSierra Foothills, California
  • Sub-RegionCalaveras County
  • SoilSchist & Limestone
  • FarmingOrganic
  • BlendBarbera
  • Alcohol14%
  • OakUsed Oak Puncheons
  • Temp.Serve at 60-65° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stems
  • DrinkingNow-2025
  • Decanting30 Minutes
  • PairingTacos al Pastor

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