2022 Martha Stoumen, Out of the Meadow, White Wine, Suisun Valley, California.
A beautiful and Summery dry white wine made from a uniquely Californian blend of Chenin Blanc, Vermentino, Trousseau Gris, Green Hungarian and Chasselas Doré by Martha Stoumen, who calls this wine a historic field blend from grapes sourced from the Suisun Valley just East of the Napa Valley. Martha Stoumen, based in Sebastopol, makes an intriguing set of wines that are distinctive and celebrate California’s diversity of grapes and terroirs, inspired by her work with European natural wine producers, where she spent years fine tuning her craft and gaining insight before returning to California to produce her own wines. Her approach is based on her respect for nature and the gifts of the older generation that bravely planted such a wide range of grapes here, as seen in this wine, and her fermentations are done with indigenous yeasts and hands off winemaking methods, but with extra care and precision as to make for the highest quality and clarity as possible. This wine is bright and fresh with uninteresting array of aromas and flavors with subtle earthiness and juicy acidity, it shows off white blossoms, salty sea shore, mineral tones and a touch of zesty spiciness that lifts a core of apple, peach, lemon/lime and passion fruit. There’s a joy in drinking this wine, with its tangy, slightly savory (maybe a touch of skin contact?) and juicy character and it is wonderfully transparent in its soulful expression, it is not overly complex or too geeky, drink this now and for the next year. Stoumen uses neutral vessels to craft her wines and while she uses oak, it is very subtle and has almost no effect on the wines purity of flavors, which is evident here, and I would suggest having food with her wines to bring out all the best from them, with this one being exceptional with soft creamy farm cheeses and lighter style cuisine.

As noted here, the Martha Stoumen label was founded in 2014, and Martha will be celebrating a decade with this upcoming harvest, she started this natural California project by exploring warm and breezy regions that allow for organic and holistic farming. She was thrilled to find a handful of dedicated farmers, primarily growing Mediterranean grapes in the Ukiah area of Mendocino County, Contra Costa County and Suisun Valley that have formed the backbone of her collection. Martha, as she notes, also found two traditionally planted, head trained, dry farmed vineyards that she now leases, that she farms, which now make up close to 25% of her production, sites that include unique Italian varietals like Nero d’Avola and Negroamaro. I’ve been a fan of these wines for awhile now and really enjoy Martha’s reds, with her Carignan, Syrah, Zin blend and especially her Nero d’Avola being my favorites, but this Out of the Meadow white definitely is a charmer and a fun alternative white. As Martha explains, after 8 years apprenticing around the world, including under Giusto Occhipinti at COS Winery in Sicily, hence her passion for Nero d’Avola, she set out as a self-funded, first generation winemaker to answer the question, “What does California taste like?” In this hot little corner of Northern California, she believes these Mediterranean grapes thrive and the healthy vineyards allow her to create ripe and joyfully balanced wines. Martha continues that her approach the winemaking process, which includes the utmost care and cleanliness in the cellar is done with patience and looking after the details – no shortcuts (are taken) for this ancient process. The results of which are authentic and tasty wines, such as this one, and as a heads up, Martha says her just to be released 2023, with its long cool growing season, is even better!
($40 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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