Old Vines, New Wine

The latest taste of Bedrock Vineyard

According to the pop history of California wine, our state was pouring swill until the 1970s.

While it is true that Fresno was better known as a wine-growing region than Napa in the mid-20th century, the roots of the common grape vine, Vitis vinifera, have been working their way through California soil since the arrival of JunĂ­pero Serra. Recently, that history has paid its due with the new 2010 Bedrock Heirloom Wine ($35 for 750 ml).

One of the oldest plots in Sonoma, Bedrock Vineyard, has been continually producing grapes since 1888. These days, 30-year-old Morgan Twain-Peterson pays homage to the plot's lineage with his Zinfandel-driven field blend from his Bedrock Wine Co.

Zinfandel is a polarizing grape: Its high-alcohol jamminess exemplifies either the best or worst of California wine, depending on whom you're talking to. But thanks to the winemaking skill of Twain-Peterson, the son of Ravenswood Winery's Joel Peterson, this bottle is no overwrought beast.

Blended with Carignane, Mourvèdre, Syrah and other grapes, Bedrock Heirloom has plum notes and a slightly feral spiciness. It is produced in small quantities and sold largely through a mailing list.

Lucky for us Angelenos, Domaine LA also has a small stock.