2015 Cruse Wine Co. ‘Monkey Jacket Red’
Grapes: Valdiguie, Tannat, Syrah + red field blend
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming (85% of fruit is certified), fermented and aged in concrete, minimal SO2
Winemaker: Michael Cruse
This wine, like its winemaker, Michael Cruse, is as unique as they come. And it’s a prime example of how a new generation of California winemakers are innovating and making some delicious juice along the way. This insanely delicious blend is 50% Valdiguie from an organic, dry-farmed vineyard in Calistoga, 30% red field blend from the Eaglepoint Ranch Vineyard (see Trail Marker Rosé above), 15% Tannat from the infamous Alder Springs vineyard in Mendocino and 5% press wine from his Syrah. All thrown together for your enjoyment! Michael himself says the wine is “hard to describe” but his intention was to create a bottle to place on your table nightly. Or as far as I am concerned, directly from the cellar to my glass. You will want to chug this whole bottle yourself, without sharing a drop, even if you aren’t normally a greedy pig. It’s bright, lifted, and buoyant, with a little cherry popsicle and minerality mixed in. Just a touch of grippiness extends the finish, but you’ll probably have already moved on to the next glass!