2021 Monte Rio Cellars, Mission, Somers Vineyard, Lodi, California.
Patrick Cappiello’s Monte Rio Mission, sourced from the 80 year old vines at the organic Somers Vineyard in Lodi, is a tasty lighter style red made from the historic Mission grape, in this case Listan Prieto, which is also known as Pais, it is a grape that is responsible for producing California’s very first wines made from European varietals, having come here along with the Spanish Missions in the 1700s, well before more popular grapes arrived after the California gold rush. The 2021 version, is a joy in the glass, and as prior efforts it was made at Pax Wine Cellars for Cappiello’s Monte Rio Cellars label, was fermented using 100% whole cluster and natural (native) yeasts in a full carbonic Maceration, which lasted for 10 days in stainless steel, after which the Mission was pressed into a combination of concrete and stainless steel tanks for 7 days to finish dry and then aged for 6 months in well seasoned old barrels. The ruby hued Mission is bright and spicy with a light to medium body that has tangy wild plum, pomegranate, bitter cherry and loads of peppery spices, red vine licorice, minty herbs, cinnamon, clove and a touch of leathery earth.

Mission grapes are a variety of Vitis vinifera in the Listan family, including Listan Prieto and Listan Negro, that was first introduced from Spain to the western coasts of North and South America by Catholic New World missionaries for use in making sacramental, table, and fortified wines. It is grown in South America, particularly in Chile, where they first planted these grapes, and Peru, under then names Rosa del Peru, Criolla and Pais, as well as being found in the Canary Islands, where it has become wildly successful on the volcanic slopes there. The Mission grape, most likely Listan Prieto, was introduced to present-day California in the late 18th century by Franciscan missionaries and it was originally believed that the first planting of the grape in present-day California was done by the controversially sainted, Junipero Serra at Mission San Diego de Alcalá in 1769, though according some documents, in fact it was first planted at Mission San Juan Capistrano in 1779 and it is thought in 1783, the first wine was produced in Alta California emerged from this mission’s winery. The 2021 vintage is the brightest and freshest Mission I’ve tried and is a delicious example of this historic grape, I love all of these quaffable Monte Rio wines, be sure to check them out as soon as possible!
($23 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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