2019 Caleb Leisure “Mother Knows”, El Dorado AVA, Sierra Foothills, California

2019 Caleb Leisure “Mother Knows”, El Dorado AVA, Sierra Foothills, California



It was Bruce Cole’s recent article in Edible San Francisco that first caught our attention and placed Sonoma natural winemaker Caleb Leisure on our radar.  First his association with Tony Coturri, the godfather of natural winemaking in California.  But what got us really intrigued was Leisure’s dedicated use of bona fide qvevri, the egg-lemon shaped clay vessel traditionally used in the Republic of Georgia for the last 8,000+ years really got us excited.  The artisan-hand produced terra cotta quevri is beewaxed lined and functions as both the fermentation and aging vessel when buried underground.  Here is an Esther Mobley SF Chronicle article for further explanation.  And also reference Georgian Wines Traditional Winemaking.

As for “Mother Knows”.  The wine is composed of 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from 20+ year old organically farmed vineyards on volcanic loam and decomposed granite in the El Dorado AVA.  The higher elevation allows Caleb to picked ripe, but at lower sugar levels.  Fermented in qvevri with 100% of skins and stems, and then buried for another 7 months on skins and stems.  The Georgians say that leaving the wine with the skins is leaving the wine with the mother (thus “Mother Knows”).  Amber is the color of the delicate, bone dry “orange wine”.  Apricot/stone fruits, pineapple and mineral notes.  Very drinkable now!  Maybe this is when Mother Knows BEST!


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