Darek Trowbridge: Making Old World Wine in the New World

Posted January 13, 2017

Stacy Brody

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Darek Trowbridge is a down-to-earth kind of guy; a winemaker with a family tradition of winemaking stretching across the ocean to Italy. He was in town for last autumn's RAW wine fair, and we were glad to have him in the store for a few short hours.    

Rather than a formal seminar, we ended up in a roundtable discussion. A more casual, interactive event seemed to be the right fit for Darek and his natural wines. We opened the discussion with a sampling of his Chardonnay. Spending a day on the skins and aging in neutral oak barrels, his Chardonnay offers both intense fruit and impressive richness. This is not a white wine to serve super-chilled - you'd shut down all it's beauty. 

Darek makes all his wines this beautiful: nothing added, just an expression of fruit and farm, unfined and unfiltered. I had the stained hands to show for it. Have napkins ready for these corks!

Over a sampling of the Syrah, we talked a bit more about the winemaking process as Old World. The grapes for his Syrah come from the iron-rich, volcanic soils of the Fountain Grove district. The grapes are pressed by foot and fermented with the stems to give an herbal quality. The result is an homage to the Syrahs of the northern Rhone valley: smoky, meaty, peppery. He made only 100 cases. 

Across his entire Old World Wine label, he makes only 2000 cases a year. Though he established the label 20 years ago, Darek maintains this limited production. Despite such small production, or perhaps because of it, Darek holds wines at the winery until they are ready. The Syrah we sampled was from the 2013 vintage, but the Cabernet was from 2007! His wines are gorgeous upon release and offer an elegance that sets them apart from the competition. 

We brought it back full cricle over a 100% Zinfandel, vintage 2009, from Dry Creek. Darek's family has a long history growing Zinfandel in California. All cherries, berries and chocolate. Trowbridge's Zinfandel was not a wine to be missed and turned out being the audience's top pick. I ended up getting a bottle signed and giving it as a gift to newlyweds who began dating in 2009. They can enjoy it in a few years on a special anniversary. Like their marriage, this wine will ebb and flow and evolve gracefully. 

The natural wines of Old World Winery are flavorful, vibrant and very much alive

STORY TO CART

Item: 90053

750 mL

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Item: 90054

750 mL

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750 mL

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750 mL

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