New York City natives Paul and Beba Frey took their family to the backwoods of Redwood Valley in Mendocino in the early 1960s, looking for a better way of life. Their twelve children grew up with a great sense of respect for the natural environment, and developed a passionate love for farming and gardening. They planted vines, and began bottling wine in the early 1980s and became Americaís first organic winery. The conversion to biodynamic farming was a natural progression, and they eventually went on to become North Americaís first Demeter certified biodynamic winery. All Frey wines are produced without any added sulfites or additives.
|Iím clearly developing a taste for ďnaturalĒ wines. Formulaic wines all start tasting the same, and wines made from cultured yeasts taste like whatever the winemaker wants the wine to taste like, kind of like an artificially-flavored wine. Wines made from wild native yeast and bottled without heavy oak flavors or the addition of sulfur dioxide are all about truth and honesty. They have a natural beauty that is not the result of make up or winemaking magic. These wines may not have the glitz and glamour of mass-produced wines, but they have a way of growing on me, and once I get to know them, their natural beauty blossoms, reawakening my palate.|
The 2012 Frey Field Blend did just that. The bouquet is fruity with pleasant earthy nuances. In the mouth, it is medium bodied and delicate, almost naked and uncovered, offering only what the vineyard has to offer and nothing more. The wine offers not only liveliness, it offers a radiant life essence that is too often lost in the cellar. I know it sounds very Zen, but sometimes less really is more and minimalism speaks more clearly than abundance.
|When Californians first started planting vineyards in the 19th century, they would hedge their bets by planting an assortment of varietals side by side, some earlier ripening, some later ripening, and everything would be harvested together and co-fermented in the same barrel. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Carignan and Mataro were just some of the grapes that would make up the field blends, which were usually bottled simply as California Red. Typically rich and full of California fruit, these field blends were easy drinking and lively in character.|
I recently served the 2012 Frey Biodynamic Field Blend with a dish I make from an old recipe that mixes rice with pasta, simmered with onions, broth and parsley. The wine didnít steal the show, but it played a strong supporting role. There is something nice about a wine that genuinely complements the meal, which, in a way, is what wine was always meant to do.