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"In Vino Veritas"

Interview By Lisa Gmur, CSW

What happens when you bring two great wineries from two very different wine regions together to make a wine in a brand new AVA? Well, it’s pretty amazing.

Mark Albrecht, Owner, Operator, Janitor & CEO, Roots Run Deep Winery

When Napa Valley’s Roots Run Deep and Columbia Valley’s Goose Ridge decided to join forces to make a Cabernet Sauvignon in the Goose Gap AVA, it definitely got our attention.

They are both supplier partners of ours and we’ve recently featured Roots Run Deep Winery as well as Goose Ridge’s winemaker in The Mark Wine News.

Truth be Told Cabernet Sauvignon is made by Roots Run Deep winemaker Macario Montoya in Washington State from hillside portions of Goose Ridge Estate vineyards at the foothills of Red Mountain.  It really is a fabulous collaboration.

Goose Gap is America’s newest AVA and has gained global attention for its quality Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec, all grapes featured in Truth be Told.

The inaugural 2018 vintage sold out in record time and the 2019 vintage is ready to go.

We talked with Mark Neville, Senior Vice President of Roots Run Deep, about how this alliance came about.

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

So, tell us, what’s the story? How did this collaboration happen?

Mark Neville

Having worked with Cabernet vineyards throughout California, from our home base in Napa Valley down to Paso Robles, and up north into Lake County, we were excited to broaden our horizons a bit for Truth Be Told and see what kind of fruit was available in Washington state.

The Mark Wine Group

That makes sense. What happened next?

Mark Neville

Our winemaker Macario Montoya, started as we all do when looking into a new wine area: crack a few bottles and see what is out there!

Who is doing what? What producers are standing out?

It was clear very early on that the vineyards around Goose Gap, Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills offered very high quality, structured, ripe cabernet and that the wines being made from those sites were incredibly consistent.

The Mark Wine Group

Why did you decide on the Monson Family?

Mark Neville

It was a matter of connecting the dots, and the Monson Family was a natural fit.

Their Goose Gap terroir for Cabernet is incredible, nestled right there between Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills. They've been farming that corner of the world for decades.

Plus, our VP Sean Salene and I had worked with them on a past project, so we had a relationship. The fact that they are a family operation like ours was a great bonus.

The Mark Wine Group

When did this whole process for Truth be Told begin?

Mark Neville

We developed the concept over the past three years, with 2018 being our first vintage. We then sold out in 60 days!

Thankfully we had planned for a quick turnaround and the 2019 Truth Be Told is available now.

The Mark Wine Group

Was it dependent on the new Goose Gap AVA?

Mark Neville

Not necessarily. The news of the Goose Gap AVA being authorized and promoted came after we began talking with the Monson’s. The recognition of the terroir as special and unique is wonderful, but they've been farming cabernet there for 30 years. We knew it was special.

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GOOSE GAP AVA

goose gap ava map

The Interview

The Mark Wine Group

How has the collaboration worked as far as who does what?

Mark Neville

We are based in Napa Valley, so they of course manage the vineyard. We defer to their knowledge of their land, and Macario was able to taste back vintages from specific blocks and rows within the vineyard. From there we began seeing how these blocks would work for Truth Be Told, what each might bring to the wine. Macario dictates the blends of the various lots based on his palate and experience, but also works hand in hand with their winemakers Andrew Wilson and Peter Devison to discuss the lots they helped to harvest, and the wine is made and barreled at their facility.

The Mark Wine Group

What was it like for Macario to work in Washington versus Napa? Did he have any other wine region experience outside of California?

Mark Neville

I will yield to Macario on this one. 

The Mark Wine Group

Thanks for joining us Macario!

Macario Montoya

Hello Lisa thanks for having me!

As a winemaker, I like to challenge myself by working with different varieties and different regions. Heading to Washington State was a completely new challenge, as all of my winemaking has been in California.

Working in Washington has been an awesome learning experience. The brightness of fruit and structure of the wines make it one of my favorite Cabernet regions. While similar to Napa in rainfall, dry temperatures and well drained soils, it’s also vastly different.

Washington doesn’t benefit as much as Napa does with its costal influence and as such the resulting wines are different.

Each region has its own unique characteristics and it’s fun to put my touch on each one.

winemaker macario montoya
Roots Run Deep & Truth Be Told winemaker, Macario Montoya

 

The Mark Wine Group

Are there any plans for a reverse collaboration? (i.e. Andrew makes wine in a new CA AVA)

Mark Neville

Not at this time, but you never know!

The Mark Wine Group

I am sure there are some great stories about the project and the name.  Would love you to share some.

Mark Neville

People tend to ask about the name and the label for Truth Be Told, both of which are unique. Conceptually, we honed in on the idea of "Truth" in winemaking, and with the aim of being completely transparent about our journey from vineyard to bottle. However, given the current reality concerning politics, big tech, media, COVID, and the never-ending battle over public opinion, we began thinking more about the idea of "Truth" in general. Is Truth still an objective reality for all of us?

The Mark Wine Group

And the label. How did you decide on this really cool design?

Mark Neville

We thought it would be an interesting, tongue-in-cheek response to the political landscape to include quotations from historic thinkers regarding the notion of truth: Henry David Thoreau, Confucius, Martin Luther, Buddha, etc.

The Mark Wine Group

The wine is an amazing price for the quality of what’s in bottle. You guys are so good at this. How do you do it?

Mark Neville

One thing is certain, for us anyway: we can make a great bottle of wine for the price That is our 'Truth' so to speak. We made 3,200 cases of 2018 Truth Be Told from one of the best Cabernet vineyards around, and basically anyone can afford to pour it by the glass. Our mission is to give people a chance to taste wines that other producers might price at 2-3x the cost.

The Mark Wine Group

Any final thoughts?

Mark Neville

As the world opens up, we applaud our friends and partners at restaurants all over the country. The high-wire act of the last year must have been insane for you and your staffs. We can't wait to see you and support your restaurant, and we hope to share a glass of Truth Be Told with you and your guests!

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Truth Be Told