Sam Bilbro grew up hanging out in a winery converted from an old cow barn, walking vineyards, and tasting blends with his dad. Later, while in the restaurant industry, he was exposed to wines from across the globe and was especially struck by the wines of Italy’s Piedmont. Learning natural systems and the world of wine in general was his route to making wine and starting Idlewild.
Idlewild has a relatively concise aim within a broad context: to produce wines of exceptional balance and beauty. It is a journey to pursue Italy’s Piedmont in the elevated hills of Mendocino County, and to find the sides of these varieties that are intriguing, delicious, and haunting.
Emphasis is on the vineyard followed by minimalist winemaking techniques. While not dogmatic in practice, an honest and sustainable approach is fundamental in making wines of purity.
Flora and Fauna loosely means the collection of plant and animal life of a certain epoch. In Sam's version, it is the collection of varietals from the cellar that make up the blend for the year. The fruit comes from Fox Hill Vineyard and Lost Hills Ranch. Fox Hill lends depth while Lost Hills balances with vibrancy and bright aromatics. In the end, Mendocino is what is most on display with high and low tones and a very pleasant rusticity. In contrast to the varietal bottling of these wines, these grapes are from sections of the vineyard that yield lighter structure and are handled with this early to bottle style in mind.
This has a deep ruby with purple reflexes, showing some extraction; The nose is vibrant and packed with dark berries, violets and dried red flowers, it has a sour cherry edge too - indeed as you'd expect from a Piedmontese wine. The palate is medium-bodied with medium acidity and medium plus, slightly gritty tannins which lift the wine up. This is packed with crunchy black and red fruit, quite fragrant, and makes a perfect wine for summer-drinking of if you don't want to go too heavy. A really excellent wine, and on top of that real fun to drink.