Unsung Hero is a wine made for summer and born under the warm Mendocino sun. This release is our fifth vintage working with fruit from Glenn McGourty’s Bonofiglio Vineyard on the banks of the Russian River in Hopland. Bonofiglio is an organic CCOF certified, 7 acre plot planted to all white Mediterranean varieties; Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier.
This vineyard is Glenn’s passion project that he and his family share and care for. By day he's the UC Cooperative Extension Plant Science Advisor for Mendocino County, which makes Glenn a wealth of knowledge for us. We ask him a lot of questions and he always answers them with conviction. Whether we're dealing with the uncertainty of wildfires and smoke issues, or the effect of drought on the crop, we can always count on him to provide us with the necessary information we need to make educated viticultural decisions.
When we first started working with the fruit from this vineyard, we knew we wanted to make a skin-contact white wine with it. The three grape varieties planted here tend to not be entirely interesting on their own but together can make really exciting wines. The Marsanne grape can get a little high in alcohol, throw a lot of color and has a propensity to get flabby; yet when treated properly it produces really nice honeyed, nutty flavors. Roussanne can also get quite ripe and is known for its oily, viscous texture which is why this grape is usually blended with other grapes that naturally have more acidity. What we like about Roussanne are its floral and herbaceous aromas. Finally, bringing up the rear; Viognier. This grape gets a bad wrap but we think the winemaking style of the 90s and early 2000’s are to blame. Many winemakers treated this grape like Chardonnay; trading used barrels for new oak and letting the grapes hang too long; producing sugary, high alcohol wines that only folks like Robert Parker could love. When treated right, Viognier is one of the most beautiful and interesting varieties with a mix of white florals, saline and citrus. This trio of grapes is usually blended together in France’s Rhone Valley to make up a perfect white blend, with each grape putting its best foot forward. We thought adding skin contact would add some interest to the blend imparting more savory flavors, highlighting the tropical notes and bringing a tannic backbone to the structure. We called this wine Unsung Hero because we wanted to make a super tasty wine out of grape varieties that are often looked over or not considered as desirable as others.
The fruit was all picked on the sunny morning of August 21st, 2021. We brought the fruit back to the winery and destemmed upon arrival. We thought the last vintage was a little too tannic and we were trying to pull back on that a bit. The grapes were co-fermented on the skins for three weeks, and were pumped over daily to make sure the wine received enough air to keep the fermentation healthy. Once the wine went dry, we pressed the fruit and let it settle in stainless steel tanks before going into 225L neutral oak barrels where the wine sat for seven months. At that point all of the barrels were racked together to the bottling tank (the only racking) then bottled (as always) unfined, unfiltered, and with no SO2 (sulfur).
The label is a favorite, crafted by none other than our Creative Director, Daniel Castro. It captures the essence of the wine and cactuses are plants that you’ll find scattered in vineyards all over Mendocino County.
If you like Preconceived Notions, give Unsung Hero a chance. This wine has flavors and smells of meyer lemon curd, tangerine cuties, white peach and finishes with mouth watering acidity. Pair this wine with pineapple & ham pizza, Tacos Al Pastor, crunchy salads, chicken off the grill and fresh summer tomatoes. It goes great with meals where you just don’t know what wine could possibly go with everything. Unsung Hero delivers.