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Gideon with Clos Saron

  • Local Cellar 2801 22nd Street San Francisco, CA, 94110 United States (map)

Established in 1999, Clos Saron is owned and farmed by Gideon Beinstock and Saron Rice. Together, they have accumulated decades of experience in viticulture, wine “making”, and all sorts of farming. “Subtly, it’s the miniature likes of Clos Saron that are increasingly, if quietly, reshaping America’s vision of fine wine. Tasting Clos Saron’s singular—and singularly fine—wines and talking with Mr. Beinstock reminded me yet again why smaller is better.” said Matt Kramer in Wine Spectator! Way up in the northern reaches of the Sierra Foothills, Gideon and Saron produce small batches of wines that are unlike anything else coming out of California. Using traditional techniques and strict organic methods both in the vineyard and the cellar, they make a variety of unique blends from 5.5 acres of nearby leased vineyards that they farm as well. The vineyards are densely planted, about 2500 vines per acre, and are dry farmed wherever possible; yields range from as low as 1 ton per acre and maxing out around 2. Because their area is free of phylloxera, their vines are all “own-rooted” and some are over 35 years old. Their vineyards are harvested in repeated passes through the vines (typically from 3 to 8 times), picking only clusters as they begin to soften, to determine perfect ripeness. The grapes are foot-stomped in open-top bins allowing the vineyards' indigenous yeasts to conduct the fermentation. For the blends, the grape varieties are all co-fermented as Gideon believes the results are better integrated. The wines are then aged on lees in 5 to 25 year old French oak barrels for as long as he feels is needed before being bottled, unfined and unfiltered, with minimal use of sulfites. Production is often around 100 cases or less per wine. Over the past 35 years, Gideon has been involved in almost every aspect of the wine industry: sales, writing, purchasing, educating, and a 16 year long stint as winemaker for Renaissance. It is at Clos Saron, though, where he has tapped into something rare: wines that are challenging, surprising, and yet instantly gratifying. They happily defy description and convention without forgetting that, at its core, a wine should be a pleasure to drink. Gideon and Saron have been taking this dubious financial challenge/adventure out of many other-than-commercial reasons: love of wine, love of outdoors work (especially viticulture), and their wish to do something productive in our lives. Farming and living close to nature may be challenging in many ways, but it is equally life giving and inspiring. Wine is for them/us an integral part of our lives, a source of joy, learning, and an endlessly expanding horizon to explore. They hope our wines will enhance your life in similar ways. 

Tasting is free and available anytime from 4:00 - 6:00.  Must be at least 21 years old.

Earlier Event: June 17
Jeff of Habit Wine
Later Event: June 24
Josh of Hoxie Spritzer