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Bedrock The Whole Shebang Red Cuvee

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Country/State California




Type Red Blend

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If you’re like me, you may fondly remember drinking Zinfandel back in the 1990s, just when it was beginning to reemerge as a wine of significant notes. Those notes: it was fruit-forward deliciousness, and it was darn cheap, something that any failing graduate student could pour at dinner parties to stimulate friendship and conversation. It was the time of the Three Big R’s of Zinfandel’s revival – Ravenswood, Ridge, and Renwood. We’ll focus on Ravenswood today.

Ravenswood was like a big high school science experiment that got out of hand and ended up changing the world. Founded by Joel Peterson way back when. He started to crush just a little bit of inexpensive “mixed black fruit” – the only thing he could afford—and the California vintners’ term for the Zinfandel family of grape varieties. And then he sold the resulting wine. It was fruity, easygoing, a little spicy, and easy to roll right on into the second bottle. Back then (around the early 1980s when Star Wars was just coming out), this fruit was really inexpensive, to the point that nobody really wanted it. When Joel had success selling it, he got noticed by growers who wanted to sell him their “worthless” fruit, too! Talk about turning nothing into something.

The process snowballed. Joel made more of his Ravenswood Blend, now called Vintners Blend, and more growers brought him fruit. From a humble crush of maybe 50 cases to start, it grew to his son Morgan’s winery today, producing some 250,000 cases.

Morgan Twain Peterson, Joel and his wife’s first son, could distinguish between Merlot and Zinfandel’s smell by age 5. Ravenwood was eventually sold, and Morgan left the wine industry to study poli sci and history in college. While there, he started working at a local wine shop, which convinnced him to return home and start his own winery – Bedrock Wine Company, in 2007.

Now obviously, Bedrock has some strong things going for it immediately. For instance, Dad happened to know where all the best Zinfandel fruit on the North Coast was grown, and he also happened to have 30-year friendships with the farmers of said fruit. He crushed and made his first Zinfandel blend and released it – 10 days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. This reinforced the strong feeling that he was brought up with from all those days of his father’s Vintners Blend in the past – that wine should be as economically accessible to as many people as possible.

The result was this wine – The Whole Shebang! As Morgon notes:

“The Whole Shebang is a wine made by the small crew at Bedrock Wine Co. intended to offer authentic Californian deliciousness at a reasonable tariff. Composed of Zinfandel, Carignan, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Mataro, and other Mediterranean varieties, the wine is our version of the humble, yet soul-satisfying, Côtes du Rhône.

“Unlike most California wines at its price point, Shebang is entirely made in our cellars with the majority of lots fermented with indigenous yeasts, native malolactic strains, and raised in a combination of neutral oak barrels and tank (in other words, minimal winemaking chicanery). The fruit comes from old vineyards we are rehabilitating along with younger vine parcels and barrels of our Bedrock Wine Co. wines that do not fit into our higher-end wines. By being multi-vintage, it allows us, as a small winery, to create some consistency across cuvées and ensure we can deliver a wine we hope overdelivers for its price.”

But don’t take his word for it; here’s some worldwide critical acclaim:

“Here’s an idea. How about a wine that is really delicious to drink? And uniquely expresses where it comes from? …For me, this is just the sort of wine California should be producing. And the price is a delightful contrast to the price of the state's more celebrated reds.” – Jancis Robinson

“This red blend is a perpetually excellent value from Bedrock Wine Company… The array of grapes includes zinfandel, carignan, syrah and petite sirah, and vintages are mixed as well, a welcome tactic. The result is an easygoing, lively wine that is delicious and versatile.” – The New York Times

We here at Waterford find it just as delicious as those Ravenswood Vintners Blends that enlivened so many nights so many years ago, leading our avocation to become our vocation. Who knows what will happen next if we just drink enough of this! Cheers.