Minimus "I Have Brett" Rosé
Varietal: Pinot Gris
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Retailer: Lou Wine Shop
This is my third attempt at writing this review. Which in and of itself, is a testament to the wine. It has perplexed, and hypnotized, me for two days. Just this afternoon, I literally cried a little over it. Because I could not find the right words, and because I was out of the wine. That sounds like a shallow and well-branded joke, but it isn't. I legit had tears. I then went back to Lou's and got another bottle.
And now, I am ready to tell you about the Minimus "I Have Brett" Rosé.
It's a Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood song.
If you have ever listened to Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood's LP Nancy & Lee, you know that it is an album of harmonious chasms. You have Nancy's flowery voice floating and Lee's deep, spicy baritone coming in hot. There's breezy tambourines and celestial violins mixed with deep bass lines and ominous drum beats. We won't get into the random trumpets and country crooning, but it's all there. A first spin leaves a listener confused, but a third listen has them obsessed. Even if they can't explain exactly how the extreme breaks in "Some Velvet Morning" went from jarring to joyful. It just is.
The Minimus "I Have Brett" Rosé reminds me of that album because it has so many conflicting notes that unexpectedly become an addictive melody. It's very dry and savory and reminiscent of a Tavel rosé, but has a tight, throbbing acidity, a punch of red fruit, and a floral halo. And then it has this incredible tannic structure and long finish. It's both light & bright, and warm & spicy, and that brett they make a point to call out is so well integrated into its complex profile that I doubt most people could pick a note of "barnyard" out of the glass while being so beguiled by its spiced cornucopia of cranberry and white flowers.
I attribute its multiverse of flavors and sensations to Minimus winemaker Chad Stock's proprietary "Reverse Saignée" method.
Alright so first things first, Saignée is a method of making rosé where a producer is making a straight-up red wine, and then bleeds off some of the juice early in fermentation. (This sort of thing is in my book BTW and you should pre-order it OKAY SORRY SORRY JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING HERE.) Chad does not do this. Instead:
'Reverse Saignée' is what my team and I call the method where by we add additional juice to a fermentation on skins as opposed to the typical Saignée, where juice is removed from the fermentation. We fill a tank full of whole cluster Pinot Gris grapes, we then take a portion of the same fruit and whole bunch press it to collect white juice. We then pump the white juice into the tank full of whole clusters. The fermentation ensues for about three weeks to dryness. We wet the cap three times daily but otherwise never punch down, so the clusters remain whole and ferment carbonic with the white juice surrounding them.
And subsequently, Minimus has created a highly energetic yet extremely structured wine that is easy to ponder upon, and lose yourself in. And I'm sitting here still dazed by it.
This is not a wine you just drink.
This is a cerebral tongue fuck,
an endlessly stimulating yet ultimately unsolvable rosé Rubix Cube.
Tasting Notes: The color is close to Pantone's "Tangerine Tango," but with a touch more red, vibrant and glowing and expanding like a molten sun. Texturally it starts very smooth, like a well-polished gem, but softens in the glass. Smells like salted hibiscus and those freeze-dried full-sized raspberries from Whole Foods 365. Tastes like cranberry concentrate, red current, white lilies, and warm, spiced orange peels. And yes, that bit of brett, and all the mysteries left to ponder by this "Reverse Saignée".
Ross Test: Doable, but put it in a glass for me. I mean, for you, but do it for me.