2019 Birichino Rokurubi & Inugami Red Blend

Central Coast, California

Made for the very first time in 2019, this is a wonderful blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre, from old vines of the Besson, Bechtold, and Contra Costa vineyards. It exudes juicy plum, dark floral notes, herbs, tea, cracked pepper, black cherry, dusty blackberry with medium tannins and acidity. Alex and John have tried for many years to conjure a fancy, congruent, age worthy old vine blend of Besson Grenache, Bechthold Cinsault and Contra Costa Mourvèdre which eclipses the sum of its parts and, until 2019, they had done so with an unbroken record of abject failure. The success of the 2019 iteration is due to the excellent quality of Grenache fruit from the Besson vineyard, which provided a small and even crop of small berries on small clusters harvested long after the heat spikes of September, the exoticism of the Mourvèdre from a new vineyard source in Contra Costa County, and a particularly botanical, wispy Cinsault wine from the Bechtold vineyard which provided a lifted buoyancy to the final blend. Although tasting perfect at the moment, this wine will surely evolve and improve over several more years.

Rokurokubi is a type of Japanese ghost/phantom. They look almost completely like humans with one of two differences. There is a type whose neck stretches and another whose head detaches and flies around freely. Inugami is a spiritual possession by the spirit of a dog, widely known about in western Japan.

Pair this wine with some charcoal grilled chicken or a barbequed pork tenderloin with a miso glaze for all your summer time fun in the backyard on the grill. Or lay it down in the cellar for a few more years to come. At only 200 cases produced when vintage conditions specifically allow. You will want to make sure you have a couple tucked away until the next time Alex and John are able to produce this unicorn.