From the very highly respected Helen Keplinger, easily one of California finest winemakers. Named “Winemaker of the Year – 2012” by Wine Spectator.
The 2016 Lithic is a blend of 41% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, and 27% Syrah – all coming from Ann Kraemer’s incredible Shake Ridge Vineyard, situated at 1700’ in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County. Organically farmed to perfection, the extraordinary Sierra uplift soils, loaded with quartz, basalt, soapstone, and shale always combine to create wines of great purity, richness, and minerality. The Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah blocks are all on rock-filled slopes with excellent exposure and drainage. The hillside blocks were harvested in partial picks for optimal ripeness on four different dates, and combined into small co-fermentations, each with a different percentage of whole cluster grapes. The wine was aged in a combination of new (15%), once-used and neutral French Demi Muids for 16 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. Initially wound up, the 2016 Lithic has a complex, thrilling evolution. The aromatics are incredibly vibrant, with layers of candied red fruit, lavender, gunmetal, garrigue, French violet candy, blackberry, and dried thyme. Broad, plush tannins frame the palate; savory notes laced with brambly blue and red fruit, dried herbs and heady floral notes carry the finish. 280 cases produced.
“Distinctive and expressive, with floral orange zest, dried cherry, cured meat and cracked pepper flavors that take on structure toward big but polished tannins. Hands off for now. Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah. Best from 2020 through 2027. 280 cases made.” 94 points, Wine Spectator — TF
“The 2016 Lithic is a blend of 41% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre and 27% Syrah aged 16 months in 30% new French oak. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it delivers compelling lilacs, kirsch and redcurrant jelly notes with red licorice and hints of anise, cinnamon stick, tar and smoked meats. Medium to full-bodied, firm and with wonderful freshness, it has a fine-grained texture and very long, spicy finish. 280 cases produced.” – 93 points, Wine Advocate