Discovery Box: LA River Wine Company
LA River Wine Company is a new endeavour from Abe Schoener of The Scholium Project.
LA River Wine Company's mission is to explore and celebrate Southern California's old, semi-forgotten vineyards. From 100+ year old Mission vines through to mixed plantings of ancient red varieties situated right at the edge of Los Angeles itself, this represents the fruition of a 15 year dream to make wine in the city.
Abe draws on decades of experience and learning in Northern California to produce wines that represent and explore the potential of these historic vines. Fermentations are always spontaneous and usually aged in old barrique or 500 litre puncheons with minimal disturbance and low to zero SO2 at any stage. There are a range of colours from red, orange through to delicate rosé, which often make a mockery of the traditional classification wine to these three narrow categories.
The astounding 'Lone Wolf' wine from 100+ year old Mission vines producing incredibly low yields of highly concentrated berries is like nothing we have tasted before - perfumed and bright but with firm tannic structure, the grapes were kept together with 30% stems and foot trodden before fermenting under a floating cap for two weeks.
The rest of the range are new wines from sub-plots of Lone Wolf to offer some permutations on the Grenache and Mission dominated parts of the vineyard. Also joining the party are wines such as 'Heart of Sand' from the North Western outskirts of the city which features the little known grape 'Rose of Peru'.
Ultimately, as with most of Abe's wine making this is a voyage of discovery, a grand experiment even. Where are these vines and what can they offer if we abandon ourselves in the pursuit of their potential? Many are from vines not commonly associated with California any more and all defy convention around what these varieties (and even Californian wine) mean to most consumers.
Availability is incredibly limited, as only a handful of cases landed in the UK.