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Idlewild Vineyards

Idlewild Vineyards - Prince Wine Store

Idlewild Vineyards

Sam Bilbro's outsize passion for Piedmont is the main inspiration behind Idlewild. Bilbro has the rare ability to craft absolutely delicious wines from obscure grapes (in California) and offer them at prices that will make even the most budget-conscious reader happy, a sensibility that he picked up during the years he worked alongside his father at Marietta Cellars. Readers who can find these wines should not miss them, as they are terrific. ANTONIO GALLONI, www.vinousmedia.com, January 2015



Proprietor Sam Bilbro has spent virtually a lifetime around wine. His family owns Marietta, while brothers Jake and Scot are behind the reborn Limerick Lane. At Idlewild, Sam Bilbro focuses on Italian and other less well-known varieties. In addition to these wines, I also tasted the, Arneis Fox Hill Vineyard, Vin Gris Dry Creek Valley and Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch. The best wines in this range are compelling, and point to a bright future. ANTONIO GALLONI, www.vinousmedia.com, February 2014



Having had a relationship with the Bilbro family as importers of the Marietta wines some years ago we were delighted to find youngest son, Sam, was behind this new venture, Idlewild. In many ways the wines are the anitpathy of what so many believe Californian wines are supposed to be. Hunting out heritage stands of Italian and Rhone varietals (mostly in Mendocino County) Bilbro makes extremely interesting wines characterised by texture, savouriness and subtlety. Skin contact is a part of the wines as is a relatively non-interventionist approach; both indicative of the preferences of the younger brigade of Calfornia producers.



Tasting these exciting wines in his Healdsberg kitchen it's pretty clear that this operation (only in its second vintage) is as much about passion as making money (only a few hundred cases total are produced). The belief in these long-ignored vines and varieties of northern California is the driving factors here for BIlbro and the quality of the wines makes this passion contagious. In our first shipment last year we were only able to get a few cases of three wines from this range however the second shipment has yielded good allocations of some of the most exciting wines Sam produces. Most notably Dolcetto, Carignan and Barbera are all part of this range for the time in Australia. In addition we have also have an allocation of the Cortese (better known as the variety behind Gavi in Piemonte).



These are exciting wines that reboot the paradigm on Californian wine and as Stephen Tanzer writes (in relation to an Idlewild wine): "I'd like to see more Californian wines like this". We wholeheartedly agree and highly recommend you give them a try. MICHAEL MCNAMARA, PWS

PRODUCTS AVAILABLE FROM THIS PRODUCER

  1. Idlewild Grenache Gris 2013
    Idlewild Grenache Gris 2013
    The Gibson Ranch is the most historical section of McDowell Valley Vineyards and includes these 100+ year old dry farmed treasures. The winemaking is our interpretation of the Ramato style Pinot Grigio's of Northeast Italy; in other words, this isn't quite a Rose nor is it a Red wine. Rather, it is a skin and stem fermented Grenache Gris that shows both fresh delicacy and structure.
    230 cases produced. IDLEWILD WINES

    Bright pink. Perfumed aromas of raspberry, cherry, blood orange and flowers, with a spicy nuance adding vivacity. Shows very good energy on the palate, offering intense red and dark berry flavors sharpened by juicy acidity. Finishes minerally and firm, with strong punch and lingering spiciness.  JOSH REYNOLDS
     
    2013
    Grenache
    USA
    362
  2. Idlewild Fox Hill Vineyard Dolcetto 2013
    Idlewild Fox Hill Vineyard Dolcetto 2013
    The 2013 Dolcetto Fox Hill Vineyard is fabulous. Dark red and purplish fruit, spices, menthol and tobacco meld together in the glass, with firm Dolcetto tannins that emerge on the mid-palate and finish. This is another absolutely joyous, delicious red to drink over the next year or so. ANTONIO GALLONI, www.vinousmedia.com

    (one-third of this wine went through carbonic maceration with whole clusters; two-thirds was destemmed and received a five-day cold soak)
    Bright red. Cranberry, cherry, anise and fresh herbs on the nose. Juicy and light on its feet, with a distinctly sappy quality to the brisk, dry flavors of cherry, red berries and licorice. No obvious sign of oak here (it was aged in neutral French barrels). Finishes with substantial dusty tannins and a touch of dryness. I find this very easy to drink. STEPHEN TANZER, Vinous Media
    2013
    Dolcetto
    USA
    362
    Special Price $50.00 Regular Price $60.00
  3. Idlewild The Bird 2014
    Idlewild The Bird 2014
    In Italy, the house wine is often light, fresh, aromatic, and firmly structured so as to pair beautifully next a wide range of foods. That is the inspiration for The Bird. Black cherries, anise, fresh strawberries, freshly turned soil, and spicy floral tones highlight the aromatic profile. The mouthfeel is fresh and bright, leans towards a touch of mouth filling richness, and then quickly moves to a clean and firm food driven finish. IDLEWILD
    2014
    Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo
    USA
    362
  4. Idlewild The Bird 2015
    Idlewild The Bird 2015
    35% Dolcetto, 35% Barbera, 30% Nebbiolo
    From Fox Hill Vineyard in Mendocino, California. This is a blend of dolcetto, barbera and nebbiolo. Winemaker Sam Bilbro takes his back country vineyard very seriously; the site rich with interesting varieties. Bilbro is a less-is-more winemaker, preferring natural fermentation, low new-no new oak, low input in winery. A producer to keep a beady eye on.

    Peppery spice, clove, black currants, plum jam, Campari, earth. Wonderful perfume. Exotic, but anchoring you into something Italianate. The palate is breezy and crisp, dosed up with cherry-berry crunchiness and another hit of pleasing amaro sour-sweetness. Light powdery tannin sits on chomp of fruit. It’s bloody delicious, intriguing, smashable. MIKE BENNIE, The Wine Front 2016
    2015
    Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo
    USA
    362
  5. Idlewild The Bee Flora and Fauna White Wine 2017
    Idlewild The Bee Flora and Fauna White Wine 2017

    Proprietor Sam Bilbro has spent virtually a lifetime around wine. His family owns Marietta, while brothers Jake and Scot are behind the reborn Limerick Lane. At Idlewild, Sam Bilbro focuses on Italian and other less well-known varieties. In addition to these wines, I also tasted the, Arneis Fox Hill Vineyard, Vin Gris Dry Creek Valley and Grenache Gris Gibson Ranch. The best wines in this range are compelling, and point to a bright future. ANTONIO GALLONI, www.vinousmedia.com

    Having had a relationship with the Bilbro family as importers of the Marietta wines some years ago we were delighted to find youngest son, Sam, was behind this new venture, Idlewild. In many ways the wines are the anitpathy of what so many believe Californian wines are supposed to be. Hunting out heritage stands of Italian and Rhone varietals (mostly in Mendocino County) Bilbro makes extremely interesting wines characterised by texture, savouriness and subtlety. Skin contact is a part of the wines as is a relatively non-interventionist approach; both indicative of the preferences of the younger brigade of Calfornia producers. PWS

    The 2017 White The Bee Flora & Fauna, is a classy, polished wine to drink now and over the next few years. Green pear, mint, white flowers and light tropical overtones all grace this very pretty, expressive wine. The Muscat in particular adds an attractive aromatic flair. ANTONIO GALLONI

    2017
    Arneis, Cortese, Muscat
    USA
    362