2022 Chesebro, Vermentino, Cedar Lane Vineyard, Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County.
This crisp and lively Chesebro Cedar Lane Vermentino pushes this varietal to its lightest, mineral toned and freshest edges with zesty lemon/lime, white peach and tart melon fruits leading the way with herb, spice and saline infused stones, making for a superb wine to enjoy with the days sea food harvest or catch, especially briny and or shellfish dishes. The 2022 Vermentino enjoys a bit more width than prior vintages, but still very steely, seashore infused and vibrant throughout with just the right amount of palate roundness and expansion to please texturally. Mark Chesebro, now with his son Will taking on a bigger role in the winemaking, really are the face of the Arroyo Seco AVA and have really helped raise the profile of this area just past the more famous Santa Lucia Highlands, but with a similar breezy cool marine influenced climate and a complex mix of stony granite laced soils with some large rocks, loams and alluvial deposits, which suits grapes like Vermentino, promoting acidity and ripe flavors. Mark’s Vermentino, might have been the Central Coast’s first 100% varietal version of this grape and has long been a local favorite in the Monterey region and great with the local cuisine.
Vermentino has found a happy home here in Monterey’s Arroyo Seco, with this grape also known as Rolle and mostly found close to the Mediterranean Sea, especially on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, it has been championed by none other than ex Bonny Doon founder Randall Graham, who believes it is one of the best white varietals for California. In recent years you’ve seen tons of interesting efforts from this grape, notably Tablas Creek who brought a Chateauneuf du Pape clone over in the 1990s. I first tried all stainless steel fermented and aged Chesebro’s Vermentino in the mid 2000s and have always admired its electric zesty quality, it is always great with clams and oysters, as well as a nice picnic wine. Mark Chesebro, who was a winemaker at Bernardus Winery in Carmel Valley, studied chemistry and biology at UC Riverside and UC Santa Cruz, before going back to school at UC Davis to study enology and viticulture with an eye toward creating a sustainable farm and vineyard, as he puts it, to live off the land, based on a suggestion of some Europeans he met while at Davis. He and his family presently on a ranch in Carmel Valley, where they grow grapes, apples, near to the vines in Arroyo Seco, which he farms, with the help of his sons. It’s a great time to discover these Chesebro wines, especially these crisp Summer whites, with this ultra pale and pure Vermentino, the Cedar Lane Sauvignon Blanc and the Albarino being great ways to start.
($25 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive