A Pét-Nat with an hourly rate.
You asked us to get weird, so we got weird. Tokyo Love Hotel is a fun, bubbly red wine for all you secret lovers out there.
On the heels of Come, Saints and Sinners, we wanted to make a Pét-Nat from another heritage vineyard site. But this one needed to get kinky. So we had to turn to the experts, brothers Jeff and John Perlegos, owners of the Stampede Vineyard in the Clement Hills AVA of Lodi.
Certified by the Historical Vineyard Society, this vineyard was originally planted by J.J. Zechmeister and C.H. Suess in the 1920s. Its location is one of our favorites, nestled between the southern embankment of the Mokelumne River and the legendary Clements Buckaroos Rodeo Grounds, which is home to the biggest amateur rodeo in the country.
This own-rooted vineyard is dotted with a dozenish heritage grape varieties including Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Mission grapes, and some other unidentified shit. Now if you’re thinking like we’re thinking, there’s only one thing to do with a vineyard like this: field blend.
With traditional blends, we will pick each variety separately, often on different days, and then combine them at a point in the future after they’ve been individually pressed. With a field blend, it’s “fuck it, we’ll do it live!” as we pick all the grapes together, piling them into the same bins, leaving their fate to destiny.
But wait, it gets stranger. As an experiment, we split our field blend into two lots. One that would be traditionally pressed and left on the skins and another that would be carbonically macerated to accentuate the freshness of the grapes. With carbonic maceration, we place the grapes into sealed tanks and pump in carbon dioxide to force out oxygen. Deprived of this resource, the grapes will release an enzyme and the individual berries start to burst and self-press through gravity.
Here’s where the story goes off the rails. From there, we decided to combine both lots to make it into a pét-nat sparkling wine. With this process, we bottle the wine before it completes its first fermentation, which naturally infuses the wine with bubbles. This differs from “méthode classique” where sugar is added to still wine to force a second fermentation. Who has time for that?
The checklist so far... We got a semi-carbonic macerated pét-nat field blend from a certified historic vineyard. See, we told you it was weird.
But strangely, the result is just plain delicious. Big mouthwatering aromas of wild cherry and blackberry candy bubble from the glass. In your mouth, it’s got a zangy intensity of flavor with those fresh flavors of blackberry, raspberry woven into small delicate bubbles. It’s like a Lambrusco plus skittles and we love it!
So what’s with the name? Well during our harvest walk with the Perlegos, we discovered that they once took monthly business trips to Tokyo. Trying to relate, one of us then told the brothers about a recent trip to this amazing city where they and their partner had stayed at a Love Hotel. You know, an hourly hotel with romantic kitsch decor designed for two (or more) lovers to sneak away for a short consensual tryst...sometimes involving toys, costumes, and karaoke. Perhaps an hour is a long time to delve into the complex details of this experience, but when we finally shut up, Jeff and John looked at us like we were out of our minds. So we promised them we’d name their wine Tokyo Love Hotel and paired it with this photo made by a Japanese street artist who is based out of Russia. Weird, we know, but we warned you.
Appellation: Clements Hills
Vineyard: Barsotti Vineyard
Blend: Heritage field blend