Where’s Linus?

In the Tasty Parts of California

 

 

 

Quick facts:                                                                          Jenny & Francois Exclusive

Winemaker: Chris Christensen, Bodkin Wines

Location: Sebastopol, North California

Vineyards: the grapes are sourced from organic and sustainable vineyards in Northern California, such as Venturi Vineyards in Mendocino

Soils: alluvial, gravelly loam

Main varieties: Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Petite Sirah

Winemaking: minimal – spontaneous fermentation and aging on lees mostly in stainless steel, some acacia/oak vats involved. Minimal SO2 additions.

 

Fun facts:

  • Jenny found Chris by luck when looking for a good source of friendly-priced natural wines from California, in January 2020
  • The name Where’s Linus? follows the tradition of giving Jenny & Francois house labels congenial first names
  • As an African American vintner, Chris works to promote diversity and inclusion in the wine industry through speaking engagements, podcasts, and mentorship opportunities for aspiring vintners and winery owners.
  • Chris is a true medieval-history nerd, even naming his own winery after a battle in the Hundred Years War.

 

Jenny Lefcourt on finding Chris… and Linus:

“I was searching for good-quality organic wine in California at a moment when we thought there might be 100% tariffs on all European wine, in January 2020. There was a horrible feeling of “I might lose it all”. I spoke with some huge negociant houses and I just couldn’t move forward. Then I spoke to Chris on the phone. I immediately knew we would do tons of projects together. He is a truly special human being. I’ve never met a winemaker who delves into the extreme details of the techniques of winemaking while talking philosophy. Chris does. It is like meeting a philosophy wizard of the cellar. Plus, he and his family had a “Ridin with Biden” ice-cream cake! How awesome is that?”

“To make things even more personal, the Where’s Linus? label is a collaboration between my husband and my brother.. An abstract map of California… The dream of where to go to find what you are looking for. We all need a dream these days, and when people I love collaborate on moving along that road, it’s pretty great.”

“They say crisis is an opportunity… and that definitely rings true in this case!”

 

Chris Christensen on the coop with J&F:

“Working with J+F is pretty amazing! I’m a big believer in allowing the grapes to determine their own path, and this partnership is a perfect opportunity to be less of a winemaker and more of a grape-shepherd, guiding the fruit on its journey from grapes to wines… I know it sounds cliché, but it’s totally the vibe – and I think it comes through in every bottle. Furthermore, with the reach and reputation of Jenny & Francois, Where’s Linus? has opened up new avenues for me to expand my advocacy for diversity and inclusion in the wine industry. All in all, working with J+F was pretty much the biggest silver lining for my year 2020.”

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Chris Christensen never thought winemaking was an actual career path for people who weren’t born into a winery or vineyard until he went on a wine tasting trip to Sonoma during his Junior year at Stanford. Although originally uelled – as Chris himself admits – by the idea that knowing a thing or two about wine might impress girls, Chris’ curiosity with wine quickly turned into a real passion.

And also a real career: although Christensen originally thought he’d just make a couple of harvests for fun before getting a “real” job in banking (which did shortly happen, for about a year), his true calling won out. So here he is, still making wines for both his own brand called Bodkin Wines (named after a battle in the Hundred Years War; Christensen is a huge medieval-history nerd) and companies like ours that are looking for delicious, approachable wine. 

As an African American vintner, Chris also works to promote diversity and inclusion in the wine industry through speaking engagements, podcasts, and mentorship opportunities for aspiring vintners and winery owners. His work has earned him much kudos, including a place in the Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 industry shakers in 2020. Praised for both his activism and self-taught yet skilled winemaking, Christensen is indisputably one of the figures to watch in the American wine industry, and we’re extremely happy that we can do so with a glass of his/our Where’s Linus? juicy wine in hand.

 

Wines


Where’s Linus? Sauvignon Blanc — Back to the top

Chris on the wine: “Chris Schlies, the managing partner of the vineyard in Lake County where the grapes come from, is a great guy whom I admire also for his previous career. As a long-time lawyer, he’d always take on pro-bono works fighting for everyday people – helping folks out with wrongful termination cases, green card issues, and labor disputes. The dude loves to help marginalized people who otherwise would be taken advantage of steamrolled by big business and other oppressive institutions. A true friend of mine.”
 
“As for this 2020 white, the wine took a bit of time to get its spontaneous ferment going (9 days) – but I feel that the microbiological diversity that occurred has led to a more complex and interesting wine in the end. Worth the wait! To add some razzle-dazzle, about 10% of the wine aged in neutral French oak and acacia barrels. The goal here was to make a fresh and lively wine with really minimum SO2 adds, and I’ve been fortunate to accomplish this goal. WhoopWhoop!”
 
Vineyard: Sandy Bend Vineyard, Alluvial Soils 1,200ft above sea level in Upper Lake, Lake County CA. Planted in 1996, certified Sustainable from 2013
 
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc 
 
Cellar: The grapes were pressed one day after harvest, with a small addition of SO2. After the slow spontaneous fermentation in tanks, the wine aged in stainless steel and neutral French oak and acacia barrels, to give it a bit of an aromatic lift and texture enhancement elements. Bottled in February without further sulfur additions (total SO2 12 ppm). 
 
Personality: Sunshine in a bottle. Take me to the tropical islands and pack some green mango salad & grilled chilli prawns along. Whoop Whoop indeed! 

Wheres Linus Rosé LabelWhere’s Linus? Rosé — Back to the top

Vineyard: L. Venturi Vineyards outside Calpella, Mendocino County, CA. Organically and dry-farmed for over 20 years. Well-drained Pinole gravelly loam soils with a mixture of sandstone, shale, and quartz.

Grape: 65% Petite Sirah and 35% Syrah

Cellar: The Syrah portion of the wine was hand-picked and pressed to tanks the same day with a small addition of SO2 at the time of pressing. After settling the wine was racked to two egg-shaped tanks for fermentations. The wine fermented with native yeast for 11 days and then rested on its lees.

The Petite Sirah was harvested a bit later,  and direct-pressed, also with a small sulfur addition at pressing. The juice underwent spontaneous fermentation in a stainless steel tank and too was allowed to age on its fermentation lees until mid-October when it was combined with the Syrah. This blend then remained on its lees a tank with no headspace (to minimize the risk of oxidation and allowing the remaining CO2 produced by fermentation to create a protective barrier) until the end of January, when it was racked to tank in preparation for bottling.

Personality: Fruity, alive, savory, lip-smackingly zesty. Easy-drinking rosé as we like it.


Where’s Linus? Red — Back to the top

coming in early summer 2021!