The Butts of Bichi
Bichi wines are a special breed. Situated in Mexico’s Baja California Norte, these grapes are both known old-world varietals and still-to-be-identified otherworldly varietals. We've had some fun bottles in the shop over the past year, but Bichi has repeatedly made us smile, as well as our wine club members when they got to enjoy a bottle of the Gorda Yori in September '21.
HISTORY! Most of the varietals you'll find in this part of the country were planted by Spanish conquistadors (colonialists) in the 1500's, then became so successful they threatened old world Spanish wines that the Crown ordered a halt on production. Some refused to stop, continuing to plant, cultivate and produce. This was a happy thing for Americans who relied on these wines during prohibition as they were being made so close to the US border.
Here in present-day Baja, the Téllez family founded Bichi and Noel began to seek out and cultivate these heirloom grapes, forge relationships with farmers who had revitalized vines, whether the varietals are known or not. With the assistance of Beaujolais-trained Yann Rohel, Bichi now produces some of the most impressive examples of natural wine coming out of the region.
When Food & Wine Magazine asked about the quirky labels, Noel responded: "
Bichi means “naked” in a native language of Sonora, where we come from. We wanted a label that was funny and whimsical. We also wanted it to have a naked luchador because luchadores are so immediately associated with Mexican culture."
Which lil Bichi butt do you wanna take home tonight?
La Gorda Yori Tecate Mexican Chenin Blanc! A 1980s planted single parcel of vines, dry-farmed in granitic soils which had been abandoned before Bichi came along to revive the plot. Made as skin contact wine with an extended maceration on the white-berried grape skins. A little grip with notes of herbs, sandalwood and orchard fruit and refreshing acidity.