- WinemakerJason Driscoll
- Aging/CooperageAged for 6 months with no lee stirring in the barrels on its gross lees before being bottled
Hibou Assyrtiko Clements Hills 2022
We’re back with another Hibou offer – but one completely unlike any we’ve had before! Jason Driscoll stumbled across this rare fruit from his primary zinfandel source – the esteemed Perlegos brothers, Jeff and John, who own and farm Lodi’s iconic Stampede vineyard. Assyrtiko is a white grape native to the Greek island of Santorini and is incredibly rare – nigh on impossible – to find here in California. Despite all that, the grape was first brought over to the U.S. as far back as 1948, and the Perlegos brothers planted it more recently in a 1.5-acre block at their Clements Hills vineyard in Lodi.
Assyrtiko is revered for its intense minerality – considered by many to be one of the world’s best grapes for expressing “terroir” – but rarely seen outside of the Greek islands where it flourishes. This is the second ever crop from this block, and it is a stunner and a thinker all in one! Layers of flinty, chalky, wet cement, matchstick, river rock minerality, with fresh herb notes of lemongrass, tarragon, spearmint, and dried marjoram. There’s a beautifully uplifting sensation of honeysuckle and star jasmine, too, plus bright and tart fruit sensations of Eureka lemons, green apples, and Bartlett pears. Lodi’s warm climate also adds a whisper of riper tropical fruits like pineapple and cherimoya, and maybe even a kiss of juicy, white nectarine. All in all, this is incredibly complex – a wine that balances weight, acidity, minerality, and more, magnificently – and simply unreal for a wine such as this to punch in at a price point of under $20! The fruit was left to soak in the skins for 24 hours before pressing, with all fermentation occurring in neutral barrels (and no lees stirring) followed by continued aging in barrel for 6 months. Cool stuff, and regardless of your resolutions – this should be added to your queue of wines to try in 2024!
PAIRING IDEAS: I enjoyed this with a NOLA classic – Fried Oyster Po’Boys! The briny bite of the sea, the spicy remoulade, the sharp pickles, with that soft but crunchy loaf of bread – it’s one of the best sandwiches anywhere, without question.