La Clarine Farm

  • Sierra Foothills, California, United States
La Clarine Farm
  • “La Clarine Farm makes wines that are alive in the glass… I love their minimalist approach in the vineyard and the cellar, and I’ve loved all their wines, whether mourvèdre, rosé or the 2011 Piedi Grandi, a blend of nebbiolo, mourvèdre and syrah that is precise, savory, juicy and just plain delicious.”

    —Eric Asimov, NY Times

  • “…the wines are defiant and different, and are helping to rewrite the story of the Sierras”

    –Jon Bonné, The New California Wine

Hank Beckmeyer and his wife, Caroline Hoel, met in the 80s while he was on tour in Europe with his band Half Japanese. Hank left the band and the tour to remain with Caroline in Europe, and over the years they would take trips to the south of France, drink a bunch of Bandol at Domaine Tempier, and discuss how much they loved what these smaller producers were doing. They eventually decided to make wine themselves, and California seemed like the right place to do it.

In 2001, the two settled in Somerset (El Dorado County, Sierra Foothills) at a site 2600 feet up in the foothills and planted a few acres of vines - mostly Tempranillo but also Syrah, Tannat, Grenache, Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon, and some unknown varieties that emerged from seeds in the compost heap. The vineyard was first farmed biodynamically (certified for a few years), but eventually evolved into the farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka’s ‘do nothing’ methods. As the name implies, the vineyard grows wild with weeds, insects, birds, and all sorts of life teeming among the vines.

From this vineyard a single wine is made in extremely low quantities and for the rest of their wines, Hank and Caro purchase fruit from like-minded, organic farmers in the foothills.

Hank and Caroline use natural methods for making their wines and have been doing so long before it became trendy in California. Generally, this means native yeasts, neutral vessels, and nothing added except a small amount (if any) of SO2 at bottling. Their goal is to make wines that are alive and enjoyable to drink during all stages of their lives while at the same time expressing the vineyards. Just taste a vertical lineup of Sumu Kaw Syrah or Cedarville Mourvedre and see for yourself!

    Image PRODUCT Description

    DB6076-19
    Organic
    Petit Manseng Sierra Foothills
    2019
    Mourvèdre
    100% Petit Menseng from the Fenaughty vineyard in El Dorado county. Vines are planted in volcanic soils at 2600 feet elevation. The grapes... Read More

    DB9189-19
    Organic
    Viognier Sierra Foothills
    2019
    Viognier
    100% Viognier. Half of the fruit comes from Cedarville (decomposed granite) and the other half from Sumu Kaw (volcanic). The granite soils... Read More

    DB5107-19
    Organic
    Rosé “Alors!” Sierra Foothills
    2019
    100% Mourvedre from the Sumu Kaw Vineyard. Grapes were grown in volcanic and loam soils at 3000’ elevation. Grapes were picked at the end... Read More

    DB2484-19
    Organic
    Tannat/Grenache "Angle of Repose"
    2019
    Tannat
    Grapes planted in rocky/clay soil on a site that was only planted in 2015. Greneche and Tannant were planted, two very different varieties... Read More

    DB7834-19
    Mourvèdre Cedarville Vineyard Sierra Foothills
    2019
    Mourvèdre
    100% Mourvedre from decomposed granite soils. Foot crushed, whole cluster fermented in open top tanks, and aged in a combination of tanks... Read More

    DB9250-18
    Organic
    Syrah/Viognier "TCB"
    2018
    Syrah
    There are few combinations in the wine world better than Syrah and Viognier. The two grapes love the same climate, soils, and possibly each... Read More

    DB9212-19
    Zinfandel
    2019
    Zinfandel
    100% Zinfandel from Sumu Kaw. 2900 ft elevation, volcanic loam soils.