The rosé is a co-fermented blend of 38% Nebbiolo, 31% Barbera, and 31% Dolcetto. This vintage of the rosé is true to the last few vintages: all the bright and fresh sides of rosé we love with an added depth to pair with food. There is a play between savory versus fresh and subtlety versus power that make this wine very intriguing. The aromas are wound up around orange peel, celery salt, grapefruit, alpine herbs, wildflowers, blood orange, and sea spray. The three varieties can all be seen in the structure: Nebbiolo lends the crunchy minerality, Dolcetto lends a delicate softness, and Barbera lends firm acidity.
Idlewild is a small winery the produces Piedmontese varietals grown in the elevated hills of Mendocino County. It is owned and operated by Sam Bilbro, a fourth generation California winemaker. Idlewild’s focus is two-fold: First, Piedmontese varieties as single varietal and vineyard wines of typicity, energy, and balance; and second, Piedmontese varietal blends that balance joy and depth while complimenting the table. Emphasis is on the vineyard followed by minimalist winemaking techniques.
Idlewild is about what moves Sam. Wines that are rooted in tradition but which also endeavor to create a new paradigm. His wines possess vibrant fruit character but often have savory elements and the requisite structure and acid to make them well to pair with food. They are wines of beauty and balance. Sam grew up hanging out in a winery converted from an old cow barn, walking vineyards, and tasting blends with his dad. Later, while in the restaurant industry, he was exposed to wines from across the globe and was especially struck by the wines of Italy’s Piedmont. His production comes primarily from small, progressively-farmed vineyards in Mendocino — primarily from the rocky elevated slopes of Fox Hill Vineyard’s older vines which is managed by Idlewild.
Idlewild represent the essence of the New California. This movement, defined in Jon Bonne’s book “The New California Wine”, encompasses producers who are working with unusual varietals and making wines of balance and finesse that defy the traditional “new world-old world” divide. These are wines that have been inspired by the their old-world archetypes, yet with unique personalities unto themselves, and firmly rooted in the California terroir. And like their old-world brethren, they are crafted to work well at the dinner table.