Collection: Grown Old Together: Harmony in The Co-Ferment

Back in February 2020, we had the privilege of a vertical tasting with the legend Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron and formerly of Renaissance Vineyards. His and his wines’ reputations preceded themselves – we were in for a special treat. Something he said during the half an hour or so we were able to speak and taste his wines especially stuck with us because the essence of what he’d said came from a place of feeling, a sort of cosmic pathos that summed up (what we then thought was) the grander aim of making this sort of wine. To paraphrase: he said he never blended his wines, only ever co-fermented them. He continued: harmony. These wines grow together, literally change their chemical structure together, to give birth to something deeper, unique, new, and shared. Harmony.

Co-fermentation is an ancient practice whereby red, white, pink, grey – any and all kinds of grapes – grown on a certain vineyard would ripen at close enough time intervals that they could be harvested together and fermented together, grape musts transforming from juice and stems into an entirely shared and new thing. The classic, modern examples of co-fermentation are the wines of Northern Rhône’s Côte Rôtie where Syrah must co-ferment with a certain percentage of aromatic viognier. In the natural wine world, co-fermentation is not the result of appellation requirements or cellar hijinks – it seems, at its core, to be about expressing the harmony that undergirds the ethos and feeling of biodynamics, that one thing is another is another and so on: the super-organism of many organisms.

In short: these wines are the expression of totality, heavy where they are light, aromatic only insofar as they carry some body, washing their tannins with light acidic verve like an easing ocean tide. These are the perfect sorts of summer wines to enjoy with a solid chill.