Monday, September 2, 2013

Campovida Finds a Sense of Place in Mendocino

Photo courtesy of Campovida.
Campovida isn’t just a winery. It’s a 13-acre organic garden, a community supported agriculture program, a 10-room center for corporate retreats, a meeting space for “meaningful conversations.” Based in the small Mendocino County town of Hopland, the Campovida property once comprised the Fetzer Valley Oaks Food and Wine Center. The Campovida website is full of poetic musings about sustainable living, community, a sense of place. One thing you won’t find is a way to buy the wines. Yep, Campovida is a different kind of outfit.

The folks behind this project are wife-husband duo Anna Beuselinck and Gary Breen. Originally from Oakland, the couple bought the closed facility in 2006 and got to work. They must’ve been quite busy over the last few years.

Despite all the time I’ve spent in Mendocino County, I knew nothing about this project before I opened Campovida’s wines a few weeks ago. The wines (five whites and a rosé) were received as trade samples and I tasted all of them sighted. These wines were made by Sebastian Donoso. Born in Chile, Sebastian studied enology at Fresno State and made wine for Sacina before joining Campovida in 2012. (Click here for a Terroirist interview with Sebastian.)

As I tasted through the wines, I started to second-guess my senses. Was I really picking up all this freshness, acidity and minerality? But after thoroughly swirling and tasting, the wines had won me over. My notes…

2011 Campovida Viognier Riserva - California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $34
A yellow-gold color in the glass. On the nose, this bright wine explodes with lime and white flowers, green apple and a rocky, mineral aroma like some sort of mountain spring. A full-bodied palate provides weight to the tangy lime and apple fruit. A real sense of richness from the honeycomb and nougat, but it’s balanced by white tea, mineral notes and medium acid. Impressive stuff. (89 points)

2012 Campovida Chardonnay Oppenlander Vineyard - California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $36
Light yellow color. Perfumed and elegant on the nose, with white flowers, lime, mineral, sea spray, almost Chablis-like in its oceanic approach. The acid rips across the palate. The green apple, lime and tangerine rind fruit is tangy and intense, and the level of minerals in this wine is really awesome. What a brisk, fresh wine that speaks to the terroir of the Mendocino Coast. Singing now, but I’d actually like to set this down for two or three years to see what happens. (90 points)

2012 Campovida Roussanne Bonofiglio Vineyard - California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $32
Light gold color. Lovely perfumed nose of banana, white peach, circus peanut candy and lavender. Plump on the palate with a waxy mouthfeel, balanced with soft acid. I like the combination of tropical fruit (banana, mango and papaya) with these notes of lanolin and candle wax. Slightly nutty but not fat. Long finish. (88 points)

2012 Campovida Campo di Blanca Riserva - California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $32
The nose blends brighter tones of lime, orange and flowers with richer honeycomb, melted butter and hazelnut, and the combination is lovely. Rich on the palate but balanced by tangy acid and some fresh minerals. I get lots of pear, bruised apple and honey, and there’s a nutty and waxy feel to this wine, which isn’t overdone. A buttery aspect lingers on the finish, but the acid doesn’t stop. Richer than some of the other whites, but still balanced and delightful. A blend of 67% Marsanne, 22% Viognier and 11% Roussanne.  (91 points)

2012 Campovida Arneis Spirit Ranch Vineyard - California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $36
Very perfumed on the nose, with all sorts of citrus and flowers. The palate shows lemon, orange and apricot, along with some more tropical notes of pineapple and green melon. The acid shines through all the way, giving the wine an airy feel despite the ripe fruit. A white tea and honey flavor lingers on the finish. A Northern Italian grape has found a good home in Mendocino. (89 points)

Behold, an amazing pink!
2012 Campovida Rosé di Grenache Riserva - California, North Coast, Mendocino County
SRP: $34
A radiant copper-salmon color with the faintest spritz in the glass. Fresh aromas of watermelon, ruby red grapefruit, wildflowers and a subtle herbal note. Crisp acid kicks off the palate. The wild strawberry and white cherry fruit is snappy and fresh rather than ripe and sweet, and the minerals add to this wine’s overall verve. I also get some white pepper and grapefruit rind notes. Pure and delicious, this is one of the best domestic roses I’ve had in a long time. The Grenache comes from Trail’s End Vineyard in the Potter Valley appellation. At 1,000 feet in a relatively cool area, Grenache grapes don’t ripen as quickly, says winemaker Sebastian Denoso, allowing for lower sugar and more focused acid. (91 points)

If you’re in the Bay Area and looking to try Campovida’s wines, you’re in luck. In April, they opened a tasting room in Oakland called the Taste of Place. Located at 95 Linden Street, it’s open from 5-9 on Thursdays and Fridays and 1-6 on Saturdays and Sundays.Going to Oakland has been a return to our own roots and beginnings of starting our lives as a family,” said Anna Beuselinck, “as well as connecting the urban and rural worlds.”

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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