The Wine: Listán 2019
Listán is produced from centenarian pie franco Misión (Listán Prieto) vines high in the mountains of Tecate, just south of the California border. Because the grapes are dry-farmed, yields are very low here. The grapes were harvested by hand, de-stemmed, and fermented in locally made concrete tinajas with 20 days of maceration, raised in a mix of steel tanks and used French barrels over winter, and bottled without fining or filtration and only 10 ppm of added SO2. Light-bodied and buoyant, this is a supremely drinkable expression of the Mission grape with notes of floral, funky & peppery red fruits, with refreshing briny acidity. Pair this wine with peppered beef and grilled game, and dishes rich in umami.
The Producer: Bichi
Bichi means "naked" in some parts of northern Mexico, and for Téllez and Luyt, it thus seemed like an appropriate name to give their new natural wine project. Based at the Téllez family ranch in Tecate, just over the border from California, Bichi farms 10 hectares of their own Tecate vineyards biodynamically and collaborates with a growing family of organic farmers working vineyard land in Tecate and around Valle de Guadalupe.
The majority of the vines are head-trained and all are dry-farmed, hand-harvested, fermented with native yeast, and aged in a neutral barrel or vat so that the emphasis is on each wine’s Mexican terruño.
Thre Region: Baja California, Mexico
Mexico has a centuries-long history of winemaking that has mostly gone under the radar. Spanish conquistadores planted vines in the early 1500s, before both Chile and Argentina, and Baja California represents about 90% of the vines in the entire country due to the ideal climate and geography. Brothers Noel & Jair Tellez, with the help of Chilean (by way of Burgundy) winemaker Louis-Antoine Luyt, are producing amazingly fresh and energetic wines from very old, recently recovered vineyards of Misión (aka Listán Prieto), Rosa del Peru (aka Moscatel Negro), Tempranillo and Carinena, among other varieties.