Chroma Soma by Carrie Anne Sumner
Chroma Soma is an exploration of how particular soils communicate through specific grape varieties, or as Carrie Anne Sumner describes it, “a soil essay.” Carignan and Grenache on schist and granite. Carrie began her career as a talent in restaurant kitchens before becoming a somm in New York and then a winemaker. She traveled between hemispheres until she met her husband Marcel in France and joined his venture, Domaine Des Enfants, as cellar master. Like a “solo album” from an artist who’s still very much in the band, Carrie’s new line is an expression of exceptional vineyards and vines, grapes picked by her hands and crushed by her feet. Bottlings are as small as 400.
Carrie explains her project in her own words:
"Chroma Soma is a separate label than Domaine des Enfants, but made under the same roof.
I like to call Chroma Soma a soil essay. In the Roussillon we have such a wide array of different soils, and I wanted to understand, for myself, how the different soils are interpreted through different varieties that are found here in the region. I didn't want to just repeat things I read in books or hear others say, I wanted to have my own connection.
The style of Chroma Soma is completely different than the wines of Domaine des Enfants. The project is only single varieties coming from specific soils. No blends. The fruit is picked much earlier focusing on a freshness of fruit. I don't worry about phenolic ripeness, as most of my extraction is made before and at the beginning of fermentation, and is very gentle. I want to express the fruit as purely as possible so the wines are fermented using indigenous yeast and the elevage is made in neutral vessels (inox,old wood, sandstone).
The fruit is coming from many places. Often it's fruit from the Domaine. It depends on the year, and whether or not our bases are covered in the Domaine. This is one way that Chroma Soma and Domaine des Enfants compliment each other. Particularly with the Grenache from Schist. We have some younger vines that are quite vigorous, and in really hot years can struggle to become ripe without dropping fruit. This is the perfect time for Chroma Soma to make an early sweep of the vineyard. There is plenty of fruit in the plot for both of us, and I get my fruit which I prefer to pick on the earlier side, which then allows the rest of the fruit to come to phenolic ripeness for the wines of the domaine. I really enjoy this dynamic.
However, Chroma Soma is now officially working with negotiant status, so I also have the right to buy fruit. Which is very exciting because now I can buy fruit from soils and elevations that we don't have in the Domaine. In particular I am buying Carignan on Granite soils from a friend of ours that has vineyards in Mont Alba. It's one of the most beautiful vineyards at 650 meters overlooking Canigou.
Now that I am four vintages in, the purpose of the project is beginning to take shape, and if this pandemic ever ends I plan to begin making presentations focused on tasting the different vintages side by side and discussing. These discussions will focus on how the different varieties are represented coming from different soil profiles while taking into account sugar levels at picking times and the altitude of the vineyards the grapes are coming from.
This summer I will release my first Syrah. This won't be called Chroma Soma, mostly due to more extraction and partial whole cluster fermentation. It will be called Vivienne Catherine I, Syrah from Granit. I am pretty excited about it."
Chroma Soma Grenache
Chroma Soma Carignan