2019 Presqu’ile, Gamay Nouveau, The Presqu’ile Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley.
One of the rising stars, or a talent that is just know getting some deserved buzz, in the Santa Barbara area wine scene is winemaker Dieter Cronje at the Presqu’ile Vineyard, with the estate vines in Santa Maria producing some fabulous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as some serious Gamay Noir, a grape that is taking off in California these days. This version by Cronje and his team, while done as a Nouveau, is actually quite complete and well structured, I was very impressed and loved drink on it very much with its nice whole bunches crunchy/juicy personality with a burst of dark berry fruits and stemmy herbs and spices making it a exciting quaffer. It’s worth noting that the Santa Maria Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA), which was established back in 1981, making it the second oldest AVA in California after Napa Valley is a cool climate region that was one of the first places to grow premium Pinot Noir grapes in the area and Bien Nacido is one of the great sites in California, with great winemakers having enjoyed these grapes for many decades, like Au Bon Climat, Qupe and even Bonny Doon showcasing the regions potential over the years. True Gamay (Gamay Noir) is a more recent star to the area and there’s now quite a few wineries in the Santa Maria and Santa Barbara counties joining the party with this fun Beaujolais grape, I personally have liked the Pence Ranch Gamay, but you should definitely check out Drake Whitcraft’s Gamay (plus his heavenly light Trousseau!) and this Presqu’ile Nouveau.
This 2019 Presqu’ile Vineyard Nouveau has classic Gamay and carbonic maceration character with a lovely medium bodied fruity palate showing blackberry, strawberry and tangy plum as well as savory herbal tension that really makes for a thrill and the ripe (smooth) tannins give this some real grip too. That said, nothing but even though it has a bit of a bite there an ease of use feel to it with refreshing vibrant acidity, it’s a lighter style red that is perfect for Spring days and best with a chill. I noticed this limited and pleasing wine is still available through the Presqu’ile Vineyard website, and I would have Gamay fans make sure not to miss it, it joins some really good California and Oregon Gamay Noir offerings, like Pax, Arnot-Roberts, Joyce Wine Co., Edmonds St. John, Hundred Suns (Oregon), Salem Wine Company (Oregon), Bow & Arrow (Johan Vineyard, Oregon) and Brick House, one of the first to plant true Gamay Noir in the Willamette Valley, to name a few. Even those that are Gamay snobs, that like me love the classic wines of Lapierre, Foillard, Breton, Thivin, Dutraive and Sunier, should take notice of these new world Gamay wines. This Nouveau by Presqu’ile is tasty stuff and it should hold up nicely for the warms days ahead over the next 6 months if not longer, it will be a cool wine with friends, once we are able to hopefully stop extreme social distancing and have picnics and BBQs, but regardless it will be good with simple and lighter foods, drink it up. As mentioned, there is a lot to like at Presqu’ile and I highly recommend checking out the Chards and Pinots here as well as this one, this is a winery that should be on your radar.
($28 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive