R. O’Neill Latta
(Santa Cruz + Los Angeles, California)
I find a certain resourcefulness in Riley O’Neill Latta’s wines and coferments that speaks volumes about his fledgling project. This is just R’s second vintage, and so inevitably comparisons to the first vintage are due—but what really matters here is that all three of these drinks captivate from the moment the cap is loose. Pasi, a maceration of passion fruit from his backyard in Highland Park, and then blended with fermenting apples, is maybe one of the most ridiculously up front beverages I’ve had in recent times, and not to toot my own horn whatsoever, but that honestly says a lot—I’ve had a lot of wine in the past few months 😅.
What I really love about this project is that while Latta is mostly aware of the many canons and oeuvres of natural wine both international and domestic, I get the sense that he simultaneously doesn’t really care about where he fits in, and this is truly felt in the resulting bottles, and in the best way—juice bombs from another plane.
Macerated Passionfruit + Apples
Prickly Pear + Apple
Grenache / Zinfandel direct press