Keplinger Lithic 2019
The 2019 Lithic is deeply perfumed, with heady aromatics of lavender, boysenberry, strawberries, orange blossom, Darjeerling tea, leather, rose petal, and baking spices. The gorgeous, silky entry, opens to delicious flavors of red and purple fruits, clove, pot pourri, cinnamon stick, with a persistent to the ethereal, long finish.
Blend: 38% Grenache, 36% Mourvedre, 26% Syrah
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2019 Lithic is based on 38% Grenache, 36% Mourvedre, and 26% Syrah sourced from Amador County, in California's Sierra Foothills. It has a great nose of bright red and blue fruits, candied violets, spring flowers, and peppered game. Beautiful on the palate as well, it's another seamless, elegant, medium to full-bodied beauty from this estate that does everything right.
The 2019 Lithic is a powerhouse. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2019 is massively tannic. This blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah from Shake Ridge has a ton of potential, but it is also not ready to show its cards today. A whole range of savory, earthy notes lend gravitas. Best after 2024.
As the lower part of the greater Sierra Foothills appellation, Amador is roughly a plateau whose vineyards grow at 1,200 to 2,000 feet in elevation. It is 100 miles east of both San Francisco and Napa Valley. Most of its wineries are in the oak-studded rolling hillsides of Shenandoah Valley or east in Fiddletown, where elevations are slightly higher.
The Sierra Foothills growing area was among the largest wine producers in the state during the gold rush of the late 1800s. The local wine industry enjoyed great success until just after the turn of the century when fortune-seekers moved elsewhere and its population diminished. With Prohibition, winemaking was totally abandoned, along with its vineyards. But some of these, especially Zinfandel, still remain and are the treasure chest of the Sierra Foothills as we know them.
Most Amador vines are planted in volcanic soils derived primarily from sandy clay loam and decomposed granite. Summer days are hot but nighttime temperatures typically drop 30 degrees and the humidity is low, making this an ideal environment for grape growing. Because there is adequate rain throughout the year and even snow in the winter, dry farming is possible.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.