Bebame was started by Don Heistuman, a reputable wine-wholesaler in Oregon, in an effort to make a California wine that satisfied his cravings for Beaujolais, Chinon and other old-world wines of that nature. With this vision in mind, Don partnered up with winemaker Steve Edmunds (of our own Edmunds St. John) and the go-to Sierra Foothills vineyard manager Ron Mansfield. The first vintage of Bebame was the 2008.
The wine is mostly Cabernet Franc with some Gamay, though the percentages vary slightly with each vintage. The fruit comes from two vineyards: Barsotti Ranch and Camino Alto. Barsotti Ranch, with its red granite soils, is a natural source for granite-loving Gamay; the vines here are 15 years old. Some of the Cabernet Franc in the blend also comes from Barsotti, from a younger plot of 6-7 year old vines; the rest comes from Camino Alto, a site dominated by volcanic loam; here, the vines are over 25 years old. Both sites are located in El Dorado county, about 2 miles north-east of Placerville, at higher elevations— 3200 and 2800 feet, respectively—which ensures moderate temperatures during the day, as well as cool nights.
Simply put, the wine is delicious and was a no-brainer for all of us at Bowler. It is a welcome addition to our domestic portfolio and we look forward to drinking it regularly.