Flora & Fauna White 2022, Idlewild

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Because this is a cellar blend of multiple varietals, they all contribute their own unique characteristics to the finished wine. The blend is based in Arneis, which lends a citrus-forward aroma and a subtle beeswax texture. The Muscat Canelli brings orange blossom lift, and the Favorita rounds it out with the oranges themselves. Erbaluce means “light herbs,” but not light in weight, but as in light from the sun! And finally, Cortese contributes a nutty richness that completes the wine.

The Flora & Fauna White is a balance of florals, minerality, citrus, and orchard fruit. This vintage shows depth of flavor while retaining a very moderate weight and a lithe finish. Just when the wine starts to feel intense in its phenolics and aromatics, the palate turns to a rainwater-like lightness, with a crisp and clean finish.

Pairing Ideas
Being an Arneis heavy blend, this Piemonte style wine is best paired with antipasto, fish, pasta, asparagus and vegetarian dishes.

Terroir
A blend from three vineyard sites, with fractured sandstone with schist veins. Well-drained soils with gravel, quartz and sandstone with thin layers of sandy clay loam.

Vine age
About 18 years

Vinification

  • Minimal Intervention
  • Whole cluster pressed, fermented via native yeasts
  • Aged 4 months in neutral oak on its lees and solids
  • Native secondary fermentation

About the Winery

Sam Bilbro grew up hanging out in a winery converted from an old cow barn, walking vineyards, and tasting blends with his dad. Later, while in the restaurant industry, he was exposed to wines from across the globe and was especially struck by the wines of Italy’s Piedmont.

Learning natural systems and the world of wine in general was his route to making wine and starting Idlewild. Idlewild has a relatively concise aim within a broad context: to produce wines of exceptional balance and beauty. It is a journey to pursue Italy’s Piedmont in the elevated hills of Mendocino County, and to find the sides of these varieties that are intriguing, delicious, and haunting.

Each wine is unique and treated as such, though the common thread is balancing depth and seriousness with vibrancy and joy. Emphasis is on the vineyard followed by minimalist winemaking techniques. While not dogmatic in practice, an honest and sustainable approach is fundamental in making wines of purity. Idlewild focuses primarily on single-varietal wines made from Piemontese grapes, but every year, Sam creates two “cellar blends” and bottles those wines as the Flora & Fauna Red and White wines. Think of these wines as a delicious casserole made from pristine ingredients, where the end result may just be greater than the sum of its parts!
Idlewild has a few homes: a lonely rolling ridge line in the Yorkville Highlands, a strip of bench-land in Mendocino county, a crown vineyard high above the Russian River Valley, a funky warehouse turned simple winery, and a tasting room just off the plaza in Healdsburg, CA.

Lost Hills Ranch, their home vineyard, sits in the elevated hills of the Yorkville Highlands in southwest Mendocino. The schist veined sandstone is planted to 15 year old Arneis, Cortese, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo. Located in Central Mendocino County, Fox Hill Vineyard is managed by Idlewild. The rocky elevated slopes are planted to 20-30 year old Arneis, Cortese, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo. Rancho Coda, also managed by Idlewild, sits high above the middle reach of the Russian River Valley. The steep slopes and fractured sandstone and quartz are planted to over 40 different varietals.