The 2018 Lithic is a blend of 46% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre, and 19% Syrah – all coming from Ann Kraemer’s incredible Shake Ridge Vineyard, situated at 1700’ in the Sierra Foothills of Amador County. Organically farmed to perfection, the extraordinary Sierra uplift soils, loaded with quartz, basalt, soapstone, and shale always combine to create wines of great purity, richness, and minerality. The Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah blocks are all on rock-filled slopes with excellent exposure and drainage. The hillside blocks were harvested in partial picks for optimal ripeness on four different dates, and combined into small co-fermentations, each with a different percentage of whole cluster grapes. The wine was aged in a combination of new (15%), once-used and neutral French Demi Muids for 18 months before being bottled without fining or filtration. The 2018 Lithic pulls you into a deep dive of ever-evolving aromatics – violets, blackberry, blood orange rind, black cherry, allspice, blue fruit, rosemary, pipe tobacco, black pepper…on and on. The silky entry opens to a broad midpalate, with fine tannins underpinning the entirety of the long, pipe tobacco-raspberry finish. Still young in its development, yet already very impressive, endlessly complex. 240 cases produced.
Winemaker is Helen Keplinger, she also makes Carte Blanche, Grace Family & Vermillion
Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points: “A darker, richer wine, the 2018 Lithic is a Southern Rhône-like blend of 46% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre, and 19% Syrah that’s all from a site in Amador County. Blackberries, smoked meats, pepper, and chocolate notes emerge from the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a rounded, seamless texture and terrific tannins. It’s brilliant wine that will certainly stand up to any number of great Châteauneuf du Papes.”