hot press, hot winery

posted March 20, 2010

 By Megan Krigbau, Food and Wine.

Sonoma’s Scribe makes wines using wild yeasts. Fittingly, its young winemaker, Andrew Mariani, throws wild parties at the estate’s old hacienda, complete with amazing food and great wine served right from the barrel.

The Scribe Winery tale begins with a charming young entrepreneur named Andrew Mariani and a storied piece of land—home, most recently, to a turkey farm—located about three miles east of the Sonoma town square.

A mile-long driveway lined with palm trees leads to a decrepit hacienda built a century ago by two bootlegger brothers from Germany. Acres and acres of brush and cactus surround impeccably trellised grapevines. In the distance are vast expanses of conserved mountainside, where foxes and mountain lions roam beneath California bay laurel, oak and madrone trees.

“It’s a wild place,” says Mariani, who bought the Scribe estate three years ago. He suspected it would be the perfect spot to make wine using wild yeasts. And despite the peeling paint and broken windows, the hacienda is already the perfect party destination for the 27-year-old Mariani and his friends. Mariani decorates the place with twinkle lights and paper streamers, projects movies onto one of the expansive white walls and almost always invites a band or a DJ friend, like Alex Pasternak, to play. There’s no working kitchen, so cooking happens in an outdoor wood oven or on a handful of grills. Guests stay late into the night, often camping out.

Mariani says, “I love telling my chef friends, ‘OK, we need to throw a party tomorrow. We have the hacienda and no kitchen. That’s it. Go to work.’ ” He recently issued that challenge to Chris Kronner, the new chef at San Francisco’s Bar Tartine, who created the sensational recipes here.

Of course, all these parties involve Scribe wine. Mariani uses oak barrels to serve wine that, for one reason or another, wasn’t mixed into his final blend. “It’s not just a dumbed-down version of our wine; if we wanted to, we could put it in a bottle and sell it,” he says. “But it’s a fun way to make something different, and a great way to get wine into a glass quickly.

Read the rest of the article HERE.