Charlie & Echo is an incredibly small production urban winery which is situated in San Diego, California.
The “Charlie” of the two, Clara Van Drunen, is a retired Master Sergeant who served in the United States Air Force.
At the end of her service in 2006, she was looking for a new adventure to tackle. That adventure came in the form of winemaking with her then-boyfriend Eric.
Eric Van Drunen, the “Echo” in Charlie & Echo, was attending grad school and studying particle physics prior to deciding to switch gears and move into the wide world of wine.
While Clara runs the business side of the winery, Eric focuses on the winemaking aspect.
Charlie & Echo Rainfall Riesling Review
The winery is incredibly devoted to being green-friendly and to supporting the local economy.
In fact, I believe Clara said it best: “We are ultra-local. All of our grapes are grown in San Diego County. We’re all connected. If we can help the local farmers by purchasing grapes from them and put it back into the economy by sharing our bottles with local bottle shops and restaurants, it’s a sustainable way of doing what we love.”
The winery is a member of 1% for the Planet and gives 1% of all sales to foundations dedicated to environmental sustenance.
The company uses a portion of each sale to purchase carbon offsets as well. This particular offering comes entirely from the Valentina Vineyard, and only 24 cases were produced of this vintage.
In this style of wine, the juice is bottled during the first fermentation, and the sugars from the grapes are what provide the carbonation.
Charlie & Echo Rainfall Riesling Summary
- Brand: Charlie & Echo
- Country: United States
- Region: San Diego County
- Wine Type: Pétillant Nature Sparkling Wine
- Varietal: Riesling
- ABV: 11.9%
The wine is a really interesting color, almost like tarnished gold, in the glass.
The wine also features plenty of carbonation, in line with more traditional styles of sparkling wines, which people may be more used to.
The aromatics of this bottle are a little “funky,” which is indicative of the style.
I get lots of underripe citrus fruit, jasmine, tart green apples, and a bit of a wet-gravel-like minerality throughout. The smell is pretty intense, carried nicely by the carbonation present here.
This is definitely going to be a polarizing bottle. It has a bit of a sour tartness to it which I found pleasant, and it tasted of limes, lemon rinds, and underripe green apples, with a bit of stoniness to it as well.
This is a really fun introduction to wine for fans of craft beer who prefer sour styles of beer.
What Does Charlie & Echo Rainfall Riesling Pair With?
The texture of the wine itself is quite fleshy and lends itself to chocolates which are filled or topped with liquors, dried fruits, or ripe red fruits.
Anything with raspberries or maraschino cherries would be fantastic, and the robust fruit flavor will help to blunt a little bit of the funk for those who aren’t in love with that aspect of the wine.
What Are Wines That Are Similar to Charlie & Echo Rainfall Riesling?
I would recommend trying Dark Star. It is a sparkling natural Shiraz from Charlie & Echo.
While the fruit profile is definitely different, it falls into this same sort of unique category of wines which are referred to as pet nats.
Outside of that, try other pétillant nature-style wines. They will all be a little different from batch to batch, but they are sure to delight if you enjoy this style of wine.
There is a lot to love here. This bottle definitely is not for everyone, but I would say that is the case for most natural wines.
But I think it had a lot of character, and I love what the winery is doing.