At only 9% alcohol, this blend of apples and red grapes is all the rage right now. All the rage with some California natural winemakers, that is. There is a growing movement to use the produce that is native, or at the very least, currently planted, in the state. As the years are getting progressively warmer and drier, the landscape is most hospitable to older and more-established varieties of fruit. In this case, winemaker Jason Charles was harvesting grapes next to an apple orchard in Mendocino, CA and decided to experiment with blending dry apple wine (or cider) with grape wine. The result is a delightfully friendly, curiously smooth, refreshing and very tasty wine (aka chilled red, cider, or rosé); something that honestly doesn’t have a category, but seriously needs a home – with us!
This is a wonderful wine for nostalgic foods – it’s like having a juicebox with your burger. Burgers, grilled cheese, pizza, hotdogs, and chicken fingers are the ticket. If you’re feeling fancy, try this with pâté, rillettes, or any rich meaty dish like duck confit or pulled pork for a delightfully savory and fruity pairing.
When Jason Charles established Vinca Minor (parent winery to Moonland project) in 2013 he made the prescient decision to build his brand around old-vine Mendocino Carignan, a grape few knew of — and even fewer raved about. Since then, his bold, minimalist handling of the grape has earned him much acclaim and placed him at the forefront of California’s natural wine movement. He’s also helped make Carignan an emerging star. Now he’s part of California’s experimental vanguard, pushing the boundaries of fermentation and site expression. With Moonland, Jason shows us how apples and pears may have an exciting role to play in the future of the winemaking industry where wildfires, drought and other realities of climate change present ongoing challenges for new vineyards.