Posts tagged #valdiguié

Cruse Wine Co. Valdiguié

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Cruse Wine Co. Valdiguié
Region: Napa, California
Vineyard: Rancho Chimiles
Year: 2016
Price: ~$30
Distributor: Amy Atwood Selections

Full disclosure: I received this bottle as a gift from Amy Atwood. Not that it mattered since I still managed to spend a couple hundred dollars on Cruse's latest allocation, as one does. 

There are two types of wine that don't make it to the site for review: Wines I don't like enough, and wines I like too much. It's safe to say the latter is why Michael Cruse's wines have been all over my Instagram, yet I've never written about here. Which is weird-- or perhaps not weird at all-- considering how much I love Cruse and his wines.

It was seventy-eight here in Los Angeles today. I (begrudgingly) had to go to the mall, and there wasn't a line outside the Apple store as I was expecting, but there was a line outside Santa's Workshop that wrapped around a Christmas tree twice the size of the duplexes on my street. I couldn't have felt less holidayish, or even close to winterish, sweating in a breezy linen button-up. 

I came home and opened Cruse's latest Valdiguié. As soon as it hit my lips, I was immediately transported somewhere else; somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you know when it's not a holiday but it still feels festive. Somewhere stress-free with no Secret Santa stealing gift exchange shit, somewhere just purely relaxing. Somewhere where there's winter and people my age can afford homes with fireplaces and listen to jazz and wear cashmere and you're extremely comfortable, both physically and like, ~spiritually~.

The Valdiguié is cozy but energetic, like a cold night spent warm inside with good friends. It's so toasty with ripe red fruit and well-integrated French oak that you want to curl up in it. It makes you want to wear layers and offer a guest your favorite throw blanket. But it also has a rippling acidity that rings of clinking glasses over conversation and laughter and flipping records. Imagine if you dunked your soul into a pot of mulled cranberry wine, and then had the best one-liner of your god damn life that everyone actually heard, and loved. That's what this wine tastes like. Like being completely at home, and being so alive. 

Tasting Notes: Stunning raspberry garnet in color. Smells like smashed cherries & raspberries in a thin pie crust made of sand, lightly dusted with fresh ground pepper, and garnished with spearmint. Tastes like crushed cranberries in a steel bowl with clove, zested orange peel, a dash of salt and a pinch of dirt. Serve slightly chilled and allow to warm to room.

Ross Test: Punchy, savory, fuzzy, YUMMMYYY. 

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Posted on November 20, 2017 .

Favorite Wines of 2014

marissa ross 2014

2014 was a good year for wines. 

I have no idea if 2014 was actually good for wines on the whole, but I am 11100% sure it was a really good year for wines and me, so yes, 2014 was a good year. A fucking fantastic year, in fact.  This was the first year I decided to take my relationship with wine more seriously, and it yielded quite the memorable vintage. I drank so many delicious wines, visited so many beautiful wineries, met so many incredible people. I learned so much and will always remember 2014 very fondly.

I will never make a list of "Best" wines. Just the thought is preposterous. But I will tell you about my favorite wines of the year.

2014 was the year of Beaujolais-Gamay for me. I had one bottle of weird-ass French shit and it was game over. I couldn't stop drinking it. I don't think I've gone through such a heavy wine phase since I first started drinking wine and refused to have anything but Cabs because I was twenty-two and an idiot. 

Still kind of an idiot, but now I'm twenty-five. [wiiiiiink]

#10 MUNICIPAL Bright White Dry Riesling 

($24) A couple months ago, I was belly to the bar at Silverlake Wine at a Monday Tasting, as I tend to do. I generally go alone, as to focus on wine. On this particular night, the gentleman next to me and I started shooting the shit. Turned out he was an importer and he set me up to visit Municipal Wines the following weekend. I had never had any of Municipal's wines, and after my visit, I was in love. One of my favorite things about their Riesling-- besides it being a confident dry white with an energized palate of grapefruit and awesome minerality-- is that it can be served at room temperature and it's still insanely refreshing. Municipal's Bright White Dry Riesling is one of the best Rieslings I've ever had, and it makes sense that when I revisited just yesterday, they were completely sold out of this shit. If you can buy it, DO IT. YOU WON'T REGRET IT.

#9  Čotar Teran

($27.99) I served this Slovenian gem at my Halloween tasting at my house. I was surprised to find that it was a crowd favorite, considering I chose this wine to represent blood in the tasting. But that's the crazy thing about trying new wines, you might actually like something even if you swear you only drink Pinot Noir. Anyway, this wine is pretty weird but really good. It's really intense, from bouquet to mouth. Warm, dry, with lots of cherry and high tannins. And, in my personal opinion, a bit of blood.

#8 Cane & Fable Cabernet Sauvignon

($19.99) I was hesitant to buy this wine because I do not like bugs and the label has a huge fucking bug on it. But it kept getting recommended to me, so I finally gave in. And I'm so glad I did. It's a classic, bold Paso Cabernet, but it's so smooth and drinkable with big notes of plum, cedar and blueberry. Truly a great wine that everyone likes. Seriously everyone fucking loves it. This is a perfect go-to wine if you don't know what your host is into it. It's the new Malbec.

#7 Le Cantine Di Indie Vino Rosso Del Popolo


($13) I described this as "A Good 'N Plenty wrapped in cashmere and raspberries" and I still stand by that assessment. Also, I said it was "the best $13 you'll ever spend on wine" and I still stand by that assessment as well because I have yet to find a $13 wine that tastes this freaking good. I DON'T EVEN LIKE GOOD 'N PLENTY CANDY. THAT CANDY IS THE FUCKING WORST. I HATE BLACK LICORICE. And yet, here I am. Adoring an Italian red that has a good punch of anise. This is my favorite wine for comparing and contrasting wine store wines versus grocery store wines. There's a good chance you spend $13 on wine at the grocery store and I bet it tastes like a barrel of sugar was poured into it right before bottling. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DRINK THAT SHIT. MAKE AN EXTRA STOP AT YOUR WINE STORE AND SPEND THE SAME $13 ON SOMETHING AWESOME. 

#6 Le TelQuel


($17.50) Le TelQuel is a French Gamay with what looks like a dachshund on the label. Behind  the label though, is a delightfully bright natural wine that is an absolute must if you love either Gamays or natural wines. It smells like cranberry juice and tastes like a flat, sour cherry beer. It's phenomenal. Definitely on the wackier side of wine drinking, although this was another I served at a tasting and found it to be a favorite. 

#5 La Boutanche Gamay


($16.99) If based purely on the volume of wine purchased in 2014, the La Boutanche would be number one on this list. I don't think I've gone a week without replacing this and then immediately drinking it only to buy another bottle, and again, just drink the shit out of it. First of all, it's an awesome Gamay that is still light and sour, but much more approachable than some of the other Gamays on this list. This is a great introductory Gamay. It's highly drinkable, and it comes IN A LITER. SO MUCH BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. This is my go-to every time I entertain now because duh, extra delicious wine.

#4 Angiolino Maule Masieri


($19) I first had this wine while I was in Venice-- Italy, not the beach-- over the summer and fell in love with it. I was so happy to find it at DomaineLA. Another natural, bright wine with big lemon notes and some really wacky earthiness. Also shares that "sour beer" taste that the other natural wines on this list share. It's just really fun and different, and pairs really well with two of my favorite things-- pasta and seafood. 

#3 Broc Cellars Valdigué
#2 R-13


(Valdiguié, $23.99) There used to be over 6,000 acres of California devoted to Valdiguié, and now there's only about 300. This rare California varietal is now a personal favorite. It is a really interesting, lighter red with great layers of strawberries and raspberries, and finer floral notes like jasmine and even a hint of roses. This wine is complex but so juicy that it's a really easy drink that pairs well with basically anything you would put out at a dinner party. This is for sure my dinner party wine. It's impressive without being a dick, which is my favorite. 

(R-13, $20) This shit is the shit. I fucking love it. It is the weirdest wine, and it is what started me on this whole crazy Gamay trip I've been on it. It legit smells like manure on wet redwood, but tastes like, you guessed it, a sour beer. It is so tart and funky, I can't even really explain it. I will tell you, this is a very polarizing wine. People either love it or hate it, so be careful who you serve it to. It turns out some people are not interested in wines that smell like shit and then taste like heaven but whatever, more for us. 

#1 Scribe Cabernet Sauvignon 


($65) And then you have the daddy of all daddies, the king of my heart and master of my palate, the Scribe Cabernet Sauvignon. This bold beast is smooth but poppy, and reminds me of drinking in a warm summer night full of blackberry brambles sunk in subtle soil, with fireworks in the dark distance. It has everything you love about classic California Cabernets but with a soft brightness that sits in your soul for the rest of your life until you somehow can afford to just be drinking $65 bottle of wines whenever you damn well please, which unfortunately for me, is not today. Aficionados and amateurs alike cream their pants over this shit. It's just the best. That's it. Nearly everything Scribe touches is perfection. Along with this Cab, I have to say, they make the best Chardonnay I've ever had (it's unskinned and a fucking miracle in a bottle).  And they have the most beautiful winery, so if you're ever in Sonoma, do not miss it.

Wine Club: Contrast Tasting


At last night's Wine Club (working title, still trying to see what works, last night we came to "Meow Meow Club" because trying to get people to listen about wine while drinking a lot of wine is basically herding cats but I can't decide if I like it enough but anyway), I put together a tasting of contrasting wines from similar regions. 

The whites are both from Northern Italy. First, the Ronco del Gnemiz Friulano San Zuan (2013, Silverlake Wine). Friulanos are also known as Sauvignon Verts, and taste a lot like Sauvignon Blancs. Super herbaceous with a bright minerality. Contrasting, I served the Angiolino Maule Masieri (DomaineLA), an organic wine that has the color of an energy drink and the palate of a sour beer. 

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The reds are both from California. After coming off the super acidic Masieri, I served the light and fruity Broc Cellars Valdiguié (2013, DomaineLA). Valdiguié is an uncommon varietal these days, with only 300 acres left in California from the 6,000 acres that spanned the region in the 70's. And contrasting, I served The Prisoner (Whole Foods), a huge Napa blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono, and Grenache. Rich cherry and tobacco, wreaking of traditional Napa mores.

We then got wasted and shot gunned Pampelonnes in my front yard. ✌️

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R-13 and Broc Cellars' Valdiguié


Two of my new favorite wines of the season that I plan on keeping stocked in the Ross household.

R-13 is really for wine lovers, people who aren't afraid of getting into some weird shit. Literally. It's super wacky on the nose, I'm talking it smells like manure on wood or a urinal. Up for debate. But it is surprisingly superb on the palate. Everyone smells it and is like, "Marissa, you're insane." And I'm like TRUST! And the moment it hits their tongue, their faith is restored and they are joyous and so shocked at how different the nose and palate are.

The Broc Cellars Valdiguié is a smooth gem. Airy, fruity but dry, very versatile. This is a varietal that you don't see very often on its own (it's usually blended). Most people haven't ever had it, but once they do, they are immediately in love. And Broc Cellars is just phenomenal anyway. 

Both taste like velvety blackberry sour beer wines. Amazing for the Fall transition. And they go really well in a tasting together. I suggest serving the Valdiguié first. 

Both are around $20 and both are currently available from DomaineLA.

I already bought another two I love them so much!