Monday, October 12, 2015

In Yuba County, Clos Saron Winemaker Aims to Produce Wines that Will Enhance your Life

Clos Saron’s Gideon Beinstock,  winemaker and co-owner of this unique North Yuba County winery with wife Saron Rice, has done something not very usual in California winemaking.  A good summary of Gideon’s experience is that he has had the opportunity to take vineyards in the North Yuba AVA from big to medium to small, and now, on his own property at Clos Saron, smaller.

The result is a track record of increasingly better wines.  He is known for producing a Pinot Noir that displays the true character of the grape with a minimalist touch.  “What has brought me to all of this is my passion for wine, and its ability to really express the terroir,” he said.

Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron

Gideon began his Yuba County winemaking experience with Renaissance Winery located not far from Clos Saron .  Owned by the Fellowship of Friends, a group that follows the beliefs of philosophers Gurdjieff and Ouspensky,  the followers had planted 365 acres of vines between 1975 and 1982.  The vines were planted  according to aesthetic principles instead of viticultural wisdom.  Although beautiful, by the time Gideon signed on as apprentice winemaker in 1992, parts of the vineyard were producing at very low yields and the wines were austere in taste.  It took about 7 years to regraft, introduce Rhone and other varieties that would do well in the various microclimates, and finally, as Gideon said colorfully, “to turn the Queen Mary around in the bathtub.”  The 45 best acres survived.

Good things came from this experience, and although there are now no ties between Renaissance and Clos Saron, it was a great education on the terroir and unique microclimates of the area. 

On the winery website, Gideon has posted what could be called a mission statement.  “Since 1999 Saron and I have accumulated decades of experience in viticulture, wine “making”, and all sorts of farming. . We have decided to take on this dubious financial challenge/adventure out of many other-than-commercial reasons: love of wine (especially Pinot Noir, but really all good wine), love of outdoors work (especially viticulture), and our wish to do something productive in our lives. Farming and living close to nature may be challenging in many ways, but it is equally life giving and inspiring. Wine is for us an integral part of our lives, a source of joy, learning, and an endlessly expanding horizon to explore. We hope our wines will enhance your life in similar ways.”

You’ll need to plan your visit to Clos Saron in advance.
  It is a Foothills wine experience you should not miss.  While you are there, let Gideon and Saron educate you a bit about living with the land, enjoying fine wine, and how patience can repay you handsomely.
Clos Saron
9269 Collin House Drive
Oregon House, CA  95962

Winery visits and tastings ONLY by appointment

(You can read more about this winery and meet the family at a special meal that photographer Johan Martin photographed for my forthcoming book...sign up to get updates/alert on publication date ...

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