We sat with Brendan Tracey to discuss his red wine vinifications and the designing of his labels. Here's Brendan in his own words:
"Entre deux chaises. It's like sitting on two chairs at the same time. It's like the best of both worlds or the worst of two worlds. It’s a blend of rosé, direct press with the carbonic maceration. The idea is to get the excitement, the energy and the thirst wine of the rosé and the carbonic maceration, which is just one-third. It structures and it gives it the color so it won't be a rosé. Yeah it’s the best of both worlds. A mix between carbonic maceration, which will get the flavors, with the skin contact, and enzymatic extraction of the flavors and the taste. It’s for three of the red wines. I don’t have any left because it gets sold out right away. It’s called Pour Une Poignee de Bouteilles, A Handle for Bottles, and so the label is like the poster for the Sergio Leone film, but I replaced the gun with Capitalisme Rouge. It’s made from Pinot Noir, and that always gets bought directly by the Japanese.
The other one is called Geroge Sèche, principally Pinot d'Aunis, dry pressed and one-third Cot and Gamay, which sees a short maceration. The Gamay is tinted Gamay with the red juice. It’s an old variety. It’s very rare. It’s all because of the AOC. The stupid policies of the AOC have pulled most of them out. It has more rustic taste because the Gamay Rouge, which I like too because I make Red Capitalism with the traditional Gamay with the white juice, but the tinted Gamay has a more rustic taste to it. It has red juice , it’s really cool.
The other one, the first one I made, the Red Capitalism Rouge, that's two-thirds Gamay, direct press, and one-third Cot, which is carbonic maceration. It’s the same philosophy. I try to make wines that I enjoy drinking myself, and red wine that I could drink day-to-day, for quality control basis, that has to be light and fruity and have this punk rock energy because that’s what I like.
The label was based on this newspaper Rouge, by the Revolutionary Communist League, a political party that transferred the name, and now it's NPA, New Anticapitalist Party, and it’s like a Trotskyist movement.
When I was a little kid in San Francisco, a teenager, for three months I was an utopist. I thought I could change the world and be a revolutionary like Che Guevara. When I was a kid it was Jesus Christ, but they're pretty much the same. But then I grew up and became a capitalist myself. I have nothing against a socialist form of capitalism but what's happening in France now I hate it. But in certain states in the US, I thick it’s pretty cool…like Maine or Vermont. There's places where there’s this intelligent approach to capitalism, so that's what it was about. The newspaper was called Rouge, red like red communist. The rouge also means red wine. It’s a typical French thing. We like to do puns. Because I'm half French, my mom is French, I studied and grew up as a later teenager and as an adult in France. I’ve spent more of my life in France than in the US.
But whatever, so the Rouge, I replaced the picture. It was an actual newspaper. It was one of their slogans. I like oxymorons; there’s this poetic thing about where you put two terms together, Red Capitalism. They're antinomic, but putting them together is sort of a poetic thing. But actually what’s happening in communist China now, the government is communist but the way exploit the workers, it's what Marx and Engels wrote about when they wrote Das Kapital in Victorian Great Britain in the 1850s or something like that. Actually, sadly enough, it’s what’s happening in some places. And they use this play on words. The slogan was Red Capitalism is a Dead End, and une Voie de Garage, voie means path and I've crossed out path, and replaced it with vin de garage, which is garage wine. It’s sort of my philosophy. I'm passionate, but I don’t give a shit about what people think. It’s a punk rock thing. I just get my grapes and just make wine according to my momentary inspiration and the quality of the harvest. And I accompany vilification because that's really pretentious to say you're a winemaker. You don't make anything. You just accompany living micro-organisms and try to nod them on the right path like a loving parent or something. It’s pretty much the way I make wines."