Old World Winery – Snail Prize
850 River Rd.
tel. (707) 490-6696
‘‘Darek Trowbridge works in the vineyard with a keen attention to detail and an eye to the viticultural traditions the past, mostly rejecting the strictures of his Fresno State master’s degree in winemaking’’
Giuseppe Martinelli emigrated from Lucca to the Italian enclave of northern California in the late 1800s where he followed in the footsteps of many immigrants of the time by planting grapes. Fast track 100 years and those same vines are being tended by his great-grandson, Darek Trowbridge.
Just minutes from the Russian River lies the 1890 Block vineyard, which harbors oddball varieties of yore. The 128 year-old vines are head-trained and have a proud wildness to their thick trunks and canes. To account for years of conventional farming Darek employed a rigorous use of cover crops and mulch to reinvigorate soil health. In a test vineyard, he discovered that mulching vines with aged wood chips quickly propagate fungal micorrhizae which, in turn promote unusually rapid root growth. This breakthrough came from five years of observation. Old world indeed.
The Garnet Petite 2011 made with Petit Sirah shows a developed nose of earth and rose petal with a palate of dried strawberry and cherry with soft tannins. The 1890 Block 1890 Block 2011, a field blend of Muscadelle, Palomino, Chasselas, Trousseau Gris, Mondeuse Noir and Arbouriou as well as some Zinfandel shows how white grapes can more than hold their own with red ones, enriching a palate of tea, dry red berry and dried apricot as well as contributing to a tannic structure.
Another field blend from 1890 Block has a wonderful buoyancy in its red fruit flavors, with a rich enticing earthiness.
PLANT PROTECTION biodynamic preparations
WEED CONTROL mechanical, mowing
YEASTS spontaneous fermentation
GRAPES purchase 10%
Photo credits @Old World Winery