Alex Krause and John Locke founded Birichino in Santa Cruz in 2008. Drawing on a combined four decades making wine in California, France, Italy, and beyond, they are focused on attaining the perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness. Sourcing from a number of carefully farmed, family-owned, own-rooted 19th and early 20th century vineyards (and a few from the late disco era) planted by and large in more moderate, marine-influenced climates, their preoccupation is to safeguard the quality and vibrance of their raw materials. Their preference is for minimal intervention, most often favoring native fermentations, employing stainless or neutral barrels, minimal racking and fining, and avoiding filtration altogether when possible. But most critically, their aim is to make delicious wines that give pleasure, revitalize, and revive.
The Lilo vineyard is subjected to a strong marine influence, and in the Spring, frequent cold weather and rain interferes with fruit set and can revive the spectre of mildew pressure. Birichino address this with well-timed applications of organic methods of control but yields are low in a good year, and disastrous in the most challenging vintages. They made none at all in 2017 or 2020.
When they are able to harvest a vintage, the grapes make a delightfully pretty and perfumed wine. The soils are interesting, vigor low, and airflow through the canopy of well-set crop is excellent.
A rare vintage and a rare treat.