Root and Rubble 2018 Pinot Noir Review
This 2018 Pinot Noir is fermented and aged in concrete.
When I saw this wine on TheManual.com, I was instantly intrigued as it is fermented and aged entirely in concrete. I was able to purchase it online; you can find multiple sites to buy this wine using Wine Searcher.
Root & Rubble is made by winemaker Adam Lee, who has been making Pinot Noir for over 35 years. Lee's inspiration for Root & Rubble came from a trip to France's Châteauneuf-du-Pape where he saw winemakers aging Grenache in concrete tanks. He pondered if Pinot Noir could be aged in concrete tanks as opposed to barrels. He decided to not stop at just aging Pinot Noir in the concrete tanks, but wanted to experiment with also fermenting the wine in concrete, which is unheard of. Root & Rubble is 100% fermented and aged in concrete tanks for 6 months. The producer states that "one of the unique properties of using concrete is its porous nature which allows tiny amounts of oxygen to gradually seep into the tank. This increases the pH producing a softer, ready-to-drink wine. In terms of temperature, concrete slowly warms and slowly cools to create a more gradual fermentation. This unorthodox winemaking fully allows the character of the grape to shine through in the glass." Root and Rubble Pinot Noir has 14.2% alcohol by volume.
The grapes for this wine were sourced from the Barbieri Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Pinot Noir Clone 828 was chosen due to its thick skins and strong tannins.
The aroma is that of cherry juice, strawberry and light cracked pepper. The concrete fermentation and aging gives this wine a unique aroma as compared to other Pinot Noirs. On the palate, Root and Rubble Pinot Noir is medium-bodied with a subtle earthiness and intense flavors of raspberry and cherry. It finishes off with a trace of velvety tannins. Overall, this wine is bright and fruit-forward, which is typically what I prefer in a wine. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Root and Rubble Pinot Noir and felt very lucky to be trying it as it is made in such a unique and rare manner! I am anxious to see if Adam Lee will produce other wines in this way or if concrete aging and fermentation will catch on with other winemakers. This technique has the potential to create some delicious and unique wines.
I think that this wine would be fabulous with slightly-spicy dishes, such as meats seasoned with cracked pepper, cherry desserts, and both fresh and aged sheep and goat's milk cheeses.