La Clarine Farm

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

    DB5143-18
    Organic
    Albariño "Al Basc" Sierra Foothills
    2018
    Albariño
    100% Albariño. The grapes are from the Rorick vineyard (Limestone). Skin fermented and macerated in an open top fermenter for 10 days and... Read More

    DB9189-18
    Organic
    Viognier
    2018
    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

    DB5107-17
    Organic
    Rosé "Alors!"
    2017
    Direct-pressed rosé from Syrah, Mourvèdre and Counoise. No added yeasts or enzymes or cultures. Half barrel-fermented, half in tank, and... Read More

    DB7834-17
    Mourvèdre Sierra Foothills Cedarville
    2017
    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

    DB9191-17
    PRIMAL!!!
    2017
    Tempranillo
    100% Tempranillo coming from Matthew Rorick’s estate vineyard, Forlorn Hope, a mix of schist & limestone soils; this fruit is sourced... Read More

    DB6410-17
    Organic
    Funky Drummer (Syrah/Grenache/Counoise)
    2017
    Red blend
    The funky drummer is all Cedarville fruit: Syrah, Grenache and Counoise, grown on granite soils. Harvested in two picks (Syrah first, then... Read More

    DB7831-16
    Syrah Sierra Foothills Sumu Kaw
    2016
    Syrah
    Winemaker musings: Sumu Kaw is an exemplary Syrah vineyard. The elements of elevation (3000 feet), location (in the middle of a pine forest... Read More

    DB7836-16
    Piedi Grandi Blend
    2016
    Nebbiolo
    Mountain grown Nebbiolo (38%), Syrah (32%) and Mourvedre (30%). 2900' elevation vineyard on volcanic loam soils. 100% whole cluster... Read More

    DB5932-16
    Mourvèdre "alto"
    2016
    Mourvèdre
    This new bottling is from a vineyard site on old, deep volcanic soils and an elevation of 2900’. Tightly spaced, head trained vines planted... Read More