Vineyard: Flora and Fauna loosely means the collection of plant and animal life of a certain epoch. This version is the collection of varietals from the cellar and also from Sam's ideas that make up the blend for the year. For 2014, The Bee compromises of roughly 60% Muscat Canelli (a.k.a Muscat Blanc, Moscato Bianco), 30% Friulano, and 10% Cortese. The Muscat Canelli comes from organically farmed, well drained volcanic soils on the southwest edge of Lake County. The Friulano and Cortese both come from Fox Hill Vineyard with soils that are well drained with high concentrations of gravel and sandstone.
Vinification: Winemaking starts in the vineyard, and Sam's preference is to find sites that require minimal to no work. In other words, the basics done right and well timed are all a great site needs. When that is the case, the winemaking becomes a simple game of guiding the fruit to be what it already is. For all three pieces of the blend, the grapes are picked at the first sign of ripeness. Sam time picking to when flavors just begin to emerge but the acidity and structure are still the predominant focus. From there, the grapes were whole cluster pressed, fermented via native yeasts, left on all the lees and solids, aged in neutral oak, and underwent native secondary fermentation. The blend was assembled in January leading up to bottling.
Production: 185 cases produced.
Notes: A dry, exotic, and aromatic white that doesn't stray to an over the top or sappy level is hard to find, and it was the rational behind the varietal choices and picking decisions. Macerated orange blossoms, wet river stones, spiced honey, ginger, gardenia, lemon peel, salty ocean air, and rangpur lime all balance in the aromas. The mouth shows great texture and weight without ever getting heavy. The finish is full of spicy acidity.