2019 Dirty & Rowdy, MSG, Red Rhone Blend, Chalone AVA, Monterey County.
It was a sad day last week when I found out that Dirty & Rowdy family wines was being dissolved, as I had really grown to love these wines, especially their awesome Chateauneuf du Pape inspired MSG Rhone style red, made from Chalone grapes coming off this chalky limestone and decomposed granite soil region in the Galbilan mountain range, and their selection of Mourvedre based offerings, as well as their super rare Barbera from Mendocino. I sulked around a few days, wondering what I would say about this and what wine of theirs would I open to begin the process of acceptance, then I got word that there might be a phoenix rising from the Dirty & Rowdy ashes and I perked right up, with the help of this gorgeous 40% Mourvedre, 40% Syrah and 20% Grenache blend. The King is Dead, Long Live the King, or something to that effect, as I have confirmed the half of the Dirty & Rowdy family is going to introduce a new label, with Hardy Wallace announcing that he has created the ‘Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah!’ label and will carry on the traditions started with Dirty & Rowdy while striving to take it up a notch or two. While absorbing this good news, I cherished this, my last bottle of the MSG and rocked out to its pleasures in the glass with its deep purple/garnet color and heady mix of dark fruits, bright savory stem induced umami crunch and its lush textural quality. These wines always show a seductive raw sex appeal and earthy transparency that find irresistible with this 2019 giving a fantastic performance, equaling the experiences I had with the stunning 2018 version with dense layering of fruit, but with fresh and lively detailing that highlight the vintage’s outstanding quality, especially here on the central coast, with black raspberry, plum, pomegranate and creme de cassis leading the way with hints of lavender, pepper, chalky stones, minty herbs and a touch of welcome funk.
This Dirty & Rowdy label was founded by friends Hardy Wallace and Matt Richardson, and Dirty & Rowdy’s original mission was to create ‘untinkered with wines’ from vineyards all over California, which was certainly accomplished with hard work, humor and a force of will. To quote Dirty & Rowdy’s Hardy Wallace “We don’t make wine by numbers, recipes, or additions, but we aren’t zealots … unless we’re talking about that spicy fried chicken” meaning these wines were made from carefully hand picked grapes, sourced from organic vines and allowed to ferment naturally with old school non interventional methods with indigenous yeasts, foot trodding and lots of whole cluster. Extra attention was paid to picking dates and phonetic ripeness, which in the case of this MSG, really paid off with incredible depth, aromatics and the delightfully low natural alcohol, that come in at a near perfect 13.5%, making for an expressive and thoughtfully balanced wine that still has a serious and powerful impact. Only a few barrels were made of the 2019 ‘MSG’ (Mourvedre, Syrah, and Grenache) that was fermented with 100% whole bunches and then aged in well seasoned or neutral French oak. I must note, I spied on Hardy’s Instagram account he got some amazing Chalone Grenache this year and I cannot wait to see what he does with it and I highly recommend getting on his and wife Kate Graham’s new list at Extradimensional Wine Co. Yeah! Sadly, the drought has affected some of my favorite northern California sites and Wallace confided to me that the Barbera didn’t make it to harvest this year, but he told me he got some awesome old vine Carignane and will do a special bottling, and I’ve all over that! This cool toned MSG, with its rocking Live Monterey County label that reminds me of a Kiss meets Monte Python scene, is a delicious Rhone red, that adds hints kirsch, tartare, dried flowers and anise with air, that is best served with friends and hearty foods. Dirty & Rowdy will be missed, but I’m thrilled to see Hardy’s next adventure, which I am sure will be a massive hit!
($42 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive