Cruse Wine Company - Red Blend "Monkey Jacket" North Coast 2020 (12.5% ABV) 750ml
Winemaker Mike Cruse sources his fruit from various vineyards and is turning out stunning wines with his minimal interventionist style. The "Monkey Jacket" red blend changes a bit each vintage depending on vineyard sources - but the star is always Valdiguie. Like many legacy grapes in California, Valdiguié has practically disappeared: only about 250 acres remain. Until 1980, when it was correctly identified as Valdiguié (a.k.a. Gros Auxerrois), it was called “Napa Gamay,” and often still is.
Valdiguié wines often resemble Beaujolais, with lots of brambly berry fruit, peppery spice, light/medium body, and crunchy acidity. “It’s kind of perfect,” says Michael Cruse, “It keeps its acid, it’s nearly impossible to get overripe, and it tastes like California sunshine.” Fruit for “Monkey Jacket” comes from multiple sites across five Northern California counties, though more than half—including most of the Valdiguié—is from Mendocino. One key source is Eaglepoint Ranch, which sits at 1,800 feet above Mendocino’s Ukiah Valley in soils of loam and sandstone.
Bright ruby in color and leading with scents of violets and black pepper, this is a medium-bodied red loaded with energy and intrigue. Brambly wild berries, strawberry-rhubarb, and black plum collide with notes of leather and black olive. The wine is above all drinkable, nearly thirst quenching with exotic floral aromas, captivating fruit leaning towards berries and bramble with a striking verve and concrete minerality moving to subtle tannins, herbaceous and a refreshing finish
varietal: 53% Valdiguié, 14% Carignan, 14% Misc field blend, 8% Petite Sirah, 8% Tannat, 3% St. Laurent, and 1% Pinot Noir
region: North Coast, California
style: medium lively red blend
farming/cellar: sustainable & organic farming, fermented in concrete with 25% whole cluster. Matured in mixture of concrete with a few old French barrels, puncheons, and steel, minimal added so2
Pairing: game bird, char roasted summer squash and succatash,