Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 17, 2019

2018 Pax Valdiguié, Quail Run Vineyard, Suisun Valley -photo grapelive

2018 Pax Wines, Valdiguié, Quail Run Vineyard, Suisun Valley.
The deeply hued Pax 2018 Valdiguie with it’s intense purple/magenta color and whole cluster pop on the palate is an all American rival to Cru Beaujolais with layers of tangy black fruits, spice, fresh cut flowers, exotic ftropical elements, racy stems (herbal notes) and juicy acidity is wonderfully poundable! Pax, besides making some of America’s great Syrah wines also does a fun selection of wondrous weird goodies including this ultra fun Valdiguie and a light skin contact Trousseau Gris, plus a fine Chenin Blanc as well as seriously sexy Carignane. This 2018 is a great mix of ripe fruity/grapey flavors along with zingy savory tones that give a balanced contrast in a low alcohol, 12.2% red that enjoys a slight chill, it is perfect for smashing at the beach or a picnic or as I had by a warm fire pit as the dipped below the horizon. This is what the French call a Glou-Glou wine, nothing to over think, it is a wine to share and laugh with and impossible not to smile contented with, its licorice, crushed lilac and snappy peppercorns making it a nice choice with an array of easy simple foods. Just released, you’d better hustle to get some, it looks to be an under the radar hit, it certainly will sell out within days.

Pax’s latest and joyously quaffable Valdiguié was 100% Carbonic Maceration, fermented in stainless steel then aged in concrete for about four months before bottling and the wine was made without any additions of SO2 at any point in the winemaking process. Valdiguié, known for it’s dark color and low alcohol, was once referred to as Napa Gamay in California because of its similarities in flavor and appearance to the famous Gamay Noir grape variety from the Beaujolais region of France, while Valdiguié is in fact from the South West of France where it is called Gros Auxerrois. In fact until very recently and with DNA testing there were quite a few wineries that labeled their old vine Valdiguie as Gamay, including the famous Rochioli Vineyards, and I bought those then and still buy their version today. When it was discovered that it was not Gamay, Valdiguie almost got a death sentence, being ripped out all over, but a few brave souls including Jerry Lohr of J. Lohr kept faith with Valdiguie and championed the grape in Monterey County, and now it has become a huge underdog success story with many young hot shots making super tasting examples, Pax of course is one of the most sought after, but there is Cruse Wine Company that also do a Pet-Nat version, Bric Cellars, Field Recordings, who make a tasty Rosé from it and Martha Stoumen too, along with the mentioned Rochioli.
($26 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive