As a true expression of terroir, Kevin Kelley's Salinia "Sun Hawk Farms" Red Field Blend 2011 consists of ten red and white biodynamically farmed varietals that are simultaneously harvested and co-fermented whole cluster, with foot-treading occurring twice daily. Planted 15 years ago, by John Schaeffer and Nancy Hensley who own and operate Sun Hawk Farms--a biodynamic farm and homestead--the vines reside in soils of goldridge, granite and loam. Wholly committed to both "living off the grid" and to regenerative farming, the couple writes: "It is the biodiversity of the farm, organized so that the waste of one part of the farm becomes the energy for another, that results in an increase in the farm's capacity for self-renewal and ultimately makes the farm sustainable." And since Kelley's subscribes to the old world/old school winemaking practice of "leaving shit alone", it is imperative that his wine be made in the vineyard.
When a vineyard manager with whom Kelley had been working initially suggested that Kelley come and visit the vines at Sun Hawk, he acquiesced, without knowing the varietals. "He knew how it was being farmed," said Kelley, "how it was special. He [also] knew to keep his mouth closed, not to tell me the varietals, to get me out there," he added and laughed. "I wasn't looking for Syrah, but after three minutes on the property, I knew the soil, the way it's farmed. It was still three years before producing its first grape. [But] I took everything and asked him not to tell anyone." Kelley released his first vintage of the Salinia "Sun Hawk Farms" Red Field Blend in 2008.
Sun Hawk Farms
Farmed on a hill side and divided into three plots with three different soil profiles that are separated by olive groves, lavender fields, California Oak and chaparral, the ten varietals consist of: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marsanne, Rousanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc and Muscat Blanc. With "the Syrah providing black fruit and olive flavors, Grenache with its red fruit and floral aromatics to the Picpoul blanc that lends minerality and acidity to the blend," writes Kelly, the Red Field Blend is fermented with indigenous yeast and aged for 18 months in Acacia 500-liter barrels.
With aromas of vibrant purple flowers, dark cherries, red plum and black pepper spice with anise, the Red Field Blend is intensely earthy with hints of dried burdock root. The acidity is bright, yet calm and the palate is savory with notes of olive, and tannins that reside gently behind the fruit. Demeter certified, this is a red that's perfect when slightly chilled for spring and summer drinking.
And though the Red Field Blend sees only small amounts of sulfur added to the bottle, Kelley also makes Salinia "Sun Hawk Farms" Sans Soufre Red Field Blend 2011, which we also carry.