Grapelive: Wine of the Day April 25, 2019

2018 Cruse Wine Company, Sparkling St. Laurent, Pét-Nat, Carneros -photo grapelive

2018 Cruse Wine Company, Sparkling St. Laurent, Pét-Nat, Carneros.
Cruse’s unique Sparkling St.Laurent (Blanc de Noirs) Pét-Nat (Pétillant Naturel) is fun and refreshing bubbly that s lightly frothy and lively with a severe dry palate with zesty flavors. Coming off the Ricci Vineyard in Carneros, on the more Sonoma side these grapes see the cool San Pablo breezy conditions which is perfect to make fine sparkling wine with zippy acidity and a racy lighter profile. Relatively unknown in the new world St. Laurent is a grape more common to Austria and the Czech Republic, where it is most widely planted, though it is also found in parts of German. St. Laurent or Sankt Laurent is grape that is related to Pinot Noir, but has a missing native grape parent that hasn’t been discovered as of yet, it’s a varietal that can do good things though never great, and interestingly I think Michael Cruse might be on the something here by using it in his Pet-Nat, which is highly entertaining. St.Laurent’s other claim to fame is that it is itself a parent grape to Zweigelt, Austria’s most common red grape along with Blaufrankisch, that is its other parent. In this Blanc de Noirs Pét-Nat, St. Laurent really shines and Cruse’s version is a lovely vivid effort that is perfect for the coming hot months ahead.

The 2018 Cruse Sparkling St. Laurent has a bright citrus and light peach fruit core, with a cheesy note, a faint hint of brioche and Wrigley’s spearmint along with a soft mousse, quiet refined for a Pét-Nat. Cruse has perfected this technique of bubbly and this one stays remarkably poised and zesty throughout, it is a fun sparkler that is easy to quaff down on the warm evening. Michael Cruse also does Champagne method bottlings, but those are extremely rare and have a cult like following, especially his Ultramarine that is like the Champagne Jacques Selosse, made by the famed Anselme Selosse, of California! While the Pet-Nat’s can’t match the luxurious and elegant nature of the méthode champenoise, which is a more involved and longer process, with the secondary fermentation in bottle being accomplished by adding a mixture of sugar and yeast, called the liqueur de tirage, to still wine after an extended period on the lees, making them more complex and traditionally richer in detail, while the Pét-Nat’s are fresher, more vibrant and easier on the winemaker’s time.

Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat, is the original way sparkling wines were made before the advent of méthode champenoise, and is accomplished by making the sparkling wine, méthode ancestrale, meaning the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is finished, without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars which creates the natural frothy bubbles, usually non disgorged with a crown cap. Slightly cloudy and rustic in most cases, but Cruse’s latest set are pretty clear in the glass and without some of sour funk found in the segment, be sure to check them out if you want a quality version, especially his St. Laurent and his Valdiguie sparklers. Pop these wines over the next 6 months to a year, I like them (Pét-Nat’s) as fresh and zippy as they can be, they are also great with lighter dishes and picnic fare. This St. Laurent Carneros Sparkling was in particular very good with a mix of clams, mussels and oysters.
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive