California Wine Country welcomes Carol Shelton, famous for Wild Thing wines with wild yeast, and for much more. CWC has the day off today so for today’s podcast edition, this is a replay of the May 31, 2023 episode.
Carol Shelton makes varietals beside Zin, although she is known as the Queen of Zinfandel, and she is back on California Wine Country today, with Steve Jaxon, Dan Berger and Harry Duke. She has been on California Wine Country several times, most recently on this episode of February 15, 2023.
Dan Berger introduces Carol Shelton by saying that every time she enters a competition she wins gold medals. She just entered the North of the Gate competition and won 6 double golds and best of classes, best of show red and Carol was named winemaker of the competition. Every grape entered has to have been grown north of the Golden Gate. Dan likes the competition because it’s a smaller more local competition and the judges all know each other.
What is Wild Thing?
They are tasting Carol’s 2022 Wild Thing Chardonnay. Wild Thing was originally the name of her Zinfandel, because she adds no yeast to what is there naturally. Dan says that it has good structure due to its acidity. It has tropical fruit in the aroma, but it is tart and will go with food. Carol says that the fruit profile comes from some Viognier and some Roussanne which she blended in.
Next tasting is another gold medal, her signature wine called Wild Thing Zinfandel.
Mendocino has some of the oldest Zinfandel in California. In the Ukiah area, it is warm but not too hot. This wine has explosive blackberry fruit. It is blended with some Carignane and Petit Syrah that is also grown on the property.
Carol came to California in high school and attended UC Davis. Her mother encouraged her to follow her interest in sciences and to look into food sciences. She took the Introduction to Wine class and found the connections to history, culture, food, sensory data, chemistry, microbiology were everything she loved. Eventually she got her degree in Fermentation Science in 1978. (The degree is called Enology today.)
Their tasting room is at 3354 Coffee Lane, they are in the back behind a few others, in the same business park with Moonlight Brewing. They are open daily from 11 am to 4 pm. Mention California Wine Country on The Drive to get a free tasting in Santa Rosa.
They make Barbera d’Alba or Barbera d’Asti, different blends made in different towns in Piedmont. Barbera is a dry red wine popular in northern Italy. The vineyard is in Oakley, California, it is at the edge of the delta, at the San Joaquin River. The vines are over 100 years old. 75% Barbera, 10% Zin, 10% Merlot, and 5% Carignanne. It won a slew of medals. It has a dark color and vibrant aroma.
The next tasting is Coquille Rouge, which is all red Rhone varieties, grown at Oakley. Mourvedre, Grenache Noir and Petit Syrah, Carignane and Alicante Bouchet.