LA CLARINE FARM is an estate vineyard and winery in the Sierra Foothills AVA, California.
OWNERS | Hank Beckmeyer and Caroline Hoel.
VINEYARDS | 4 hectares (9.9 acres) of land of which 1.62 hectares (4 acres) are estate vines: Tempranillo, Syrah, Tannat, Grenache Noir, Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon. Thin, coarse, sandy loam soil. Elevation of around 780 metres (2,600 feet).
GRAPE PURCHASES | Yes, from 4 growers Hank told me at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
CERTIFICATION | La Clarine Farm was certified Biodynamic by Demeter for a while but found it too ‘bureaucratic’ Hank told me at the Real Wine Fair, Tobacco Dock London 7-8th May 2017). Hank says he also found the Biodynamic concept of seeing the farm as a self-sustaining living organism “appealing”, but decided that while the Biodynamic Preparations are “powerful tools, medicines if you will, for bringing a balance onto the farm, like all medicines there comes a time to stop the treatment. Continued treatment only takes you away from the desired goal–a living, independent farm entity. I began asking, am I creating a junkie-vineyard?”. Hank embraced Masanobu Fukuoka‘s idea that, in Hank’s words allowed the farmer to to play more “the role of the caretaker than active participant…don’t do anything unnecessary farming.”
WINEMAKING | Low intervention. All reds are whole cluster fermented and foot trodden Hank told me at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
ALBARINO | 2015 Nice fruit, light and fresh at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
WHITE BLEND 1 | 2012 Sierra Foothills. ‘Viognier, Marsanne, Petit Manseng. 29mg/l sulfites,’ (Isabelle Legeron, 2014, p159).
ROSE WINE | 2012 ‘Syrah, Mourvedre, Semillon, Viognier. A vineyard field blend. Pale, onion skin color. 15mg/l sulfites,’ (Isabelle Legeron, 2014, p175).
JAMBALAIA RED | 2015 Mourvedre, Grenache Noir, Syrah. 100% tank fermented. Bit of Brett at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
JOSEPHINE & MARIPOSA RED
MOURVREDRE, AMBROSIA VINEYARD | This is located in El Dorado County.
MOURVEDRE, CEDARVILLE VINEYARD
SYRAH, SUMU KAW | 2014 From purchased grapes grown at 914 metres (3,000ft). Wild fruit, appley and bretty at the Real Wine Fair 2017.
TEMPRANILLO | 2015 Bought in fruit and, rarely for this part of California, grown on limestone.
La Clarine Farm, PO Box 245, Somerset, CA 95684, USA / Tel+001 530 306 3608 / www.laclarinefarm.com
Isabelle Legeron MW, Natural Wine, An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines grown naturally (2014, Cico Books, London & New York).
Oz Clarke, Oz Clarke Wine A-Z (Pavilion, 2015), p151-2.
Real Wine Fair 2017, Tobacco Dock London 7-8th May.