Producer: In their own words, Shaunt Oungolian and Diego Roig – the braintrust behind Populis Winery out of Mendocino, California – put it like this: “Why Populis? Because it’s all about you, our friends and allies, our brothers and sisters who want to drink delicious, honest wine. There is not enough wine with soul that we can afford to drink…and we like to drink!” Cheers to that. These guys are awesomely committed winemakers – their operational facility quite literally a basement in a family home – who want to not only showcase their own viticulture/oenology, but to pay homage to the great multigenerational growers of some of the historically organic vineyards of Mendocino County. In order to do this, they purchase grapes from such estates for their Populis imprint (their other imprint, “Les Lunes” is wine made from grapes cultivated on their own vineyards farther north) which is defined in style as the more relatable, fun, generous wines that fit something closer to a vin de soif approach. The formula, they let you know (belying the day in-day out rigor of making something this hands-off) is old vines+inimitable terroir+no tomfoolery = straight up fermented juice. And man is it good.
Vinification: 100% Zinfandel. Grapes are hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel using native yeasts. Bottled before fermentation completes to capture residual CO2 and creative a natural effervescence. Unfined, unfiltered, no SO2.
Tasting: A tart, zingy, fruit-medley dream with notes of wild berries, mango, pomegranate and grapefruit. The bubbles are delicate, light and refreshing. Something to crush at the beginning of a long night or a warm Saturday afternoon, Donna Summer blasting and a picnic blanket laid out on a friend's roof. Pure joy.