2021 Idlewild ''Flora and Fauna'' White, Mendocino, California, USA

If this juicy blend of Arneis, Muscat, and Cortese seems atypical for California, that’s because winemaker Sam Bilbro takes his cues from Piedmont, Italy. Bilbro farms the three grape varieties on the steep hillsides of Lost Hills Ranch in Mendocino.


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Flora and Fauna loosely means the collection of plant and animal life of a certain epoch. It is the collection of varietals from the cellar that make up the blend for the year. This vintage is based in Arneis that is blended with Muscat Canelli, Favorita, Erbaluce, and Cortese to achieve the balance desired from this Piedmontese inspired blend. The fruit comes from Fox Hill Vineyard, Lost Hills Ranch, and Rancho Coda. Fox Hill lends depth, Lost Hills balances with vibrancy and bright aromatics, and Rancho Coda gives a core of fruit and mouthfeel. In the end, Mendocino is on display with high and low tones and a very pleasant rusticity while Russian River Valley fills in the gaps to make the wine cohesive.


Sam Bilbro grew up hanging out in a winery converted from an old cow barn, walking vineyards, and tasting blends with my 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. He was also fortunate to have many friends and family to learn from along the way.

Idlewild sources fruit from just two vineyards: Lost Hills Ranch and Fox Hill Vineyard Both are managed by Wild Ruth Farming, a collaboration between Idlewild and Ruth Lewandowski Wines. Holistic farming ensures that the site and vintage are allowed to speak.

Lost Hills Ranch is a dream. The beautiful loneliness of the open hills and the sentinel oaks covered in Spanish moss project out a sense of calm. The vineyard sits at 1500 ft of elevation, and the roots work hard to dig into fractured sandstone with schist veins and just a thin top layer of sandy clay. The Yorkville Highlands AVA sits along the southwest corner of Mendocino county and is marked by the clash of maritime and continental climates.

Fox Hill Vineyard is one of the most unique vineyards in Northern California. Located southeast of Ukiah on Mendocino’s Talmage Bench, the soils are well drained with high concentrations of gravel, quartz, and sandstone. What makes this site so special is the fact that Lowell Stone decided to buck every trend and simply plant what he was interested in planting. Many trips to Italy turned to inspiration and the wild spectrum of varieties began to take root.


Grape(s) Arneis, Muscat, Cortese
Farming Organic