Carbonic Pinot Meunier 2021
Tim harvested this Pinot Meunier (cousin of Pinot Noir and unsung hero behind some of your favorite champagnes) from the historic Yount Mill Vineyard. The site, which sits on Napa’s valley floor, just north of Yountville, has been farmed for over 100 years (organically since 1987) by one of California's pioneering wine families. To produce this wine, Tim loaded the grapes whole-cluster into a stainless steel tank, which he then topped with CO2 and sealed to initiate carbonic maceration — an oxygen-free fermentation method exported from Beaujolais (responsible for the region's reputation for turbocharged fruitiness). To minimize extraction from the stems, Tim drained the free run juice (the prized liquid that is drawn naturally by gravity alone) from the tank daily. The wine was aged for four months in neutral French oak barrels (a relatively short period, favoring freshness). Unfined, unfiltered. Four barrels produced. Total SO2 22 ppm. 11.2% alcohol.
Toshokan — which means library in Japanese — pays homage to winemaking as an act of curation. Having come of age amidst the New California Movement, Tim’s foundational wine drinking experiences came not from Europe, but rather from hometown heroes like Donkey & Goat and Matthiasson. (He would later go on to work for both producers.) As a result, the wines feel refreshingly self-assured, evoking a free-wheeling spirit of creativity and craftsmanship that’s grounded in the here and the now. Toshokan sources grapes throughout Northern California, primarily (soon to be exclusively) from organic sites. Cellar work is as rigorous as it is minimal, with purity and site expression as primary goals. All fermentations are spontaneous (no commercial yeasts) and only small amounts of sulfur are used.