Cart is empty Subtotal: $0.00
Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard
A pale, brilliant platinum blond color speaks of the wine’s purity. A snap of the glass stopper reveals scents of apples, citrus, and stone fruit; all backed by flowers, herbs, yeast and a beguiling, underlying, minerality. The wine crackles with energy, ethereal and vivacious on the palate with crisp high note flavors of apple and lemon contrasting with the more luscious notes of peaches, herbs, white flower and finishing with a touch of ginger-like minerality. Yum!
43% Pinot Gris
32% Pinot Blanc
Abraxas does not aspire to be anything but true to vintage.
Abraxas does not aspire to be anything but true to vintage.
Crisp flavors of apple and lemon overlay more luscious notes of peaches with sweet green herbs.
Abraxas is full of surprises with the shapeshifting ability to complement many vibrant dishes.
There is nothing wrong with trying to tap into the power of nature, even if you don't fully comprehend its origins... because nature is magic.
Do you believe in Magic?
Gods, Guitars and Gewurztraminer...
I’m a modern day romantic cynic, a living contradiction. I don’t believe in Potter-esque wizardly magic, but I know magic exists. Magic occurs in a place that feels right, when things are put together just so; sculpted, crafted, or played with skill - like a Carlos Santana guitar solo! It is in the glint of an eye, a properly timed smile, or an unexpected question from one of my daughters. Magic happens when the world speaks, and you just happen to be listening.
The origins of Abraxas are from a time when questions could not be answered with reason or science and were instead enshrouded in mysticism. Abraxas made its earliest known appearances in the Gnostic “Holy Book of the Great Invisible Spirit” and the Greek “Magical Papyri,” bestowing Abraxas with the fantastic and the magical from the beginning.
For an ancient Greek or Egyptian, looking up into the night sky to see planets move against a backdrop of stars was magic, a dance not fully understood. Rotations could be counted, yet no one knew it was they who were riding the spinning orb.
Conjuring the spirits, a god was created to explain the natural or, in their mind, the supernatural. Abraxas was the Great Archon, the supreme god who embodied both good and evil. Abraxas, with the head of a cock, the body of a man and legs of the serpent, was the overlord of the 365 spheres and (just in case you did not make the connection that Abraxas was responsible for the year) the Greek letters of Abraxas add up to 365. Abraxas also represented the natural through its spelling, with each of its letters tied to one of the seven classic planets, then believed to be the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Abraxas was nature in all its good and evil glory. The ancients, without the modern tools of science, were unable to explain the life forces around them, so instead they created a god with supernatural attributes to explain the unexplainable.
All of this is not an issue for the people of today, or is it? We are an arrogant bunch. We believe we know it all, that we have or can find all the answers. We know that the sun is a star and there are nine planets... no, wait, now there are only eight! New knowledge, that was unavailable to us only a few years ago, had the power to change our perception of our solar system. It makes you wonder what else we don’t know?
Less than a hundred years ago, Rudolph Steiner gave a lecture to a group of farmers that became the basis for the method of farming we call Biodynamic. Steiner attempted to connect “life forces” (read: the forces of nature) with the activity and results on the farm. His goal was to teach the farmer to reconnect with nature to create produce that would provide the highest level of quality to feed not only the body, but the spirit.
Rudolph was not a farmer, but what he lacked in practical knowledge, he more than made up for with his power of observation. He was able to look at the cycles of the moon and theorize its impact on plant life, or observe the destruction caused by the newly mechanized industrial farm (that treated land more like a mine than as a resource) and see the need for creating methods to heal the earth.
Steiner lived at that intersection of disciplines where magic happens. As a scientist, philosopher, theologian and educator, he could draw from each area of study to formulate his theories and methods. Sometimes, when something was unexplainable with known science, he fell back on the spiritual or ritualistic, which resulted in some embarrassingly silly procedures that makes some, including us, question whether or not he is a worthy mentor. But then you see the magic in the farm and look back at the path Biodynamics has led, and you realize there is nothing wrong with trying to tap into the power of nature, even if you don’t fully comprehend its origins ... because nature is magic.
Many people wish cooking was magic. Think of all the time you could save if a swish of a wand or a mumbled chant could make dinner appear on the table. Cooking IS magic. It’s the alchemy of raw ingredients, spun into something delicious and nourishing. It’s in you and the connection you have with the food you prepare; a special connection that cannot be bought or sold. It’s a unique skill that many sensory memories will be built upon. A skill that flows and intertwines with the bounty of food that each season brings.
In the late winter and early spring, our lemon trees are heavy with fruit. We harvest them and make preserved lemons with salt, olive oil and bay leaves from the tree at the front of the winery. These preserved lemons last us the whole year until the next harvest. We slice their precious peel and add them to roasted chicken, fish, pork and lamb. Our vinaigrettes and marinades are all born from these lemons. It’s a way to preserve the harvest and allow it to make a later appearance, adding a salty, piquant-acid note to a dish long after the trees are barren of fruit.
The origin of RSV’s Abraxas springs from four aromatic varieties of grapes growing in a single vineyard. The percentages of the grapes that comprise the blend change every year to retain the balance and piquancy of the wine. It is this point of balance that makes the wine sing with dishes such as roasted game hens with preserved lemons. Abraxas is full of surprises with a shapeshifting ability to complement many vibrant dishes. Surprise yourself and create some magic of your own.
Until the next wine...
Three hundred and sixty-five days shape Abraxas. It’s even in the name itself. If you apply isopsephy (the Grecian practice of adding up the number values of the letters in a word) to the Greek letters of Abraxas, ΑΒΡΑΣΑΞ, the sum is 365. In ancient times, the Gnostic Basilideans believed that Abraxas ruled the 365 heavens, each one with its lesser god and a virtue for every day of the year. In later years, the name morphed into the magic word, Abracadabra.
Abraxas is a salute to distinctiveness and a reaction against homogeneity. Born of the idea that four classic grapes of Alsace (Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc), planted in RSV’s Organic and Biodynamic Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard, would respond distinctly to the unique weather patterns of each year. Then, the four varieties could be blended, in ratios determined by each variety’s unique response to the vintage, making the wine whole while avoiding the manipulations often found in a more industrialized cellar. Abraxas does not aspire to be anything but true to vintage.
Wine Geek Notes
2010 began with a cool, wet winter and spring, delaying bloom. Summer was very cool, with plentiful fog, making for slow sugar development. A short heat spike in August interrupted the chill, but it quickly returned. Fruit came in balanced, with great flavor development at reasonable potential alcohol.
Each block of fruit arrives to the press in the wee and chilly hours, picked before dawn, to minimize any spoilage risk. Clusters go in whole, and gentle pressure is applied to extract the juice without driving bitter or coarse flavors from the skins, stems and seeds. The juice is held in stainless steel tank at very low temp to prevent the initiation of fermentation for a day, allowing solids to precipitate out. After racking off the settled solids, the wine is run back to stainless steel tank for a chilly ferment at 58 degrees. The low temperature does a few things: preserves the fresh vivacious fruit character; slows down the yeast, making for a month long ferment; and allows more of the carbon dioxide produced by the ferment to go into solution, acting to enhance acidity, lift aroma, and protect the wine from oxidation. Each lot is guided through the cellar separately before blending trials commence to create a wine that best expresses the vintage.