Birichino, Santa Cruz, California


Founded by Alex Krause and John Locke in 2008, Birichino (‘ch’ is pronounced ‘k’) began with a focus on Malvasia, but then grew to take in a range of well-farmed vineyards, many of which are very old and still on their own roots. Approach is minimal intervention, and the results are compelling, fresh, drinkable wines, often with quite a bit of complexity. This is benchmark new California.


Birichino Sparkling Carignan Pétulant Naturel 2021 Santa Cruz, California
Pale pink, this is tangy bright and fruity with some yeasty spiciness and notes of orange peel. Lovely freshness here. 91/100

Birichino Malvasia Blanca Pétulant Naturel 2020 Santa Cruz, California
This was first made in 2012, as a tiny 18 bottle lot that they put together on their patio. Malvasia was fermented to dryness and some thawed frozen juice added (for the sugar) as well as some rosé that was still fermenting as a yeast source. Fruity, expressive, grapey and pure with nice fruit character. Very easy but has a twist of complexity. The bubbles give this vitality. 90/100

Birichino Semillon Yount Mill Vineyard 2021 Napa, California
11.5% alcohol. Old vines. Direct press into stainless steel, wild fermented. Aged in five barrels and four stainless steel tanks. So fine and layered! Supple and fine with citrus fruit and some subtle herb and fennel notes, as well as some pear and white peach. Textured and fresh with a lemony finish. 94/100

Birichino Vin Gris Rosé 2020 Santa Cruz, California
This is 60% Grenache with the balance Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Vermentino. Direct pressed into the same fermenter and kept cool. This is multidimensional with notes of orange peel, cherries, spice and some dried herbs. Very expressive with lovely texture and finesse. 93/100

Birichino Scylla 2019 Santa Cruz, California
This is 78% old Carignan (1920s) with old Grenache (1910) and Mourvèdre (1890s). Detailed and restrained with lovely cherry and raspberry fruit. Juicy, with good acidity. There’s a nice bitter damson edge to the acidity and great focus and drinkability. Quite fine. 93/100

Birichino Saint Georges Pinot Noir Old Vines 2020 Central Coast, California
From the edge of Santa Cruz. 35% whole bunch, aged in old barrels. Wonderful aromatics of sour cherries and spice, with a hint of meat. Fresh, textured, fine palate with expressive sour cherry and raspberry with good acidity. Complex and layered. 95/100

Birichino Saint Georges Zinfandel Old Vines 2018 Central Coast, California
13% alcohol. 15% whole bunch, aged in old demi-muids and barriques. So fine and juicy with lovely crunchy raspberries and red cherries, with great acidity. Nice precision here, showing good tannins. Light yet at the same time substantial. 94/100

Birichino Besson Vineyard Grenache Old Vines 2019 California
So beautiful with lovely aromatics. Vibrant and floral with red cherries, spice and raspberries. Lots of sweet fruit on the palate with nice tannins. Joyful but also fine, showing some crunch. Such a wine. 94/100

UK agent: Bancroft

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