Rootdown, Carbonic Trousseau
Winemaker: Mike Lucia
Country: USA, California
Appellation: Amador County
Soil: Honcut, Fine sandy loam
Tasting Notes: Alpine strawberry, delicate violet, and fresh soft herbs straight from a bright summer garden. The palate circles around polished fruit: watermelon, cran-apple, red currant, cherry, and tart raspberry with lingering dried plum. All the while notes of crunchy pickles offset silky rose petals and dusty black licorice.
About the Process
"I fill small tanks with whole grape clusters (which were harvested in half-ton macrobins) and pump in Co2. The grape clusters remain intact, completely under Co2 for six weeks with no intervention. This tank is completely sealed with only the bottom valve cracked so when pressure builds, liquid escapes, not gas……….Full Carbonic. The other thirty percent of the grapes were destemmed after harvest and fermented in a neutral oak tank with daily pump-overs until dry. I blended the oak-fermented, de-stemmed wine with the other 70% after it finished fermentation 6 weeks later."
About the Winemaker
Mike Lucia is no newcomer to the Northern California wine scene. He owns and operates multiple wine brands including Rootdown, Cole Ranch, and Es Okay. His winemaking roots go all the way back to the early 90s, where as a teenager he began working in the cellar. Since then, he's: studied in the Fresno State Enology program, made wine for Copain, Goldeneye, and consulted for brands with similar mentalities. In 2016, Mike "hit the gas pedal" on Rootdown, increasing both the quantity and varieties of wine he made, stopping once he reached 9 wines. His newest venture, Cole Ranch Vineyard & AVA is testing all of his knowledge, as he studies a unique terroir (the smallest AVA in the US!) and pushes to find the best Alpine varietals that will thrive in the location.
Mike's Rootdown label refers to the grassroots of winemaking and the downward influence of the soil on wine, particularly in organic winemaking. Mike has always been more interested in what the vines' roots are drinking, rather than how the sun is interacting directly with the fruit. Rootdown focuses on varietal specific wines from single vineyards that lead with earth and texture, rather than only fruit. Currently, Rootdown is making wines from the more obscure varieties. Yet over the next few years, the brand will begin to focus on Jura-inspired varietals with Cole Ranch as its source. Stylistically, the wines will continue to be low alcohol, high acid, and with a decidedly hands-off approach, allowing the grapes and specific sites to speak for themselves.