2015 Ian Brand La Marea Old Vine Grenache Besson Vineyard -photo grapelive

2015 La Marea, Old Vine Grenache, Besson Vineyard, by Ian Brand, Santa Clara County.
Just named 2018 Winemaker of the Year in the San Francisco Chronicle, Monterey’s Ian Brand is one of the region’s most interesting characters in the area, known as a soil freak and a vineyard whisperer, who’s wines are now known and respected far and wide! The latest Ian Brand Grenache release, is his 2015 Old Vine Besson Vineyard under the La Marea label, it is a gorgeous medium bodied and vivid red wine from a unique spot that lies between three regions, Santa Cruz Mountains, San Benito and Santa Clara on an ancient river bed and was planted over one hundred years ago, this vineyard Vineyard sits just shy of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, on the ‘Hecker Pass’ a gap that cuts a path to Santa Cruz from Gilroy. Planted in 1910, this historic Besson vineyard was brought to fame years ago by Bonny Doon’s Clos de Gilroy, these head trained mature vines makes for wonderfully expressive Grenache(s) and transmits it’s terroir beautifully through its gravelly/stony dirt and hardened clay/loam soils, not forgetting its all dry-farmed and organic. This one forgotten vineyard is now one of the hottest places in the central coast for old world style Grenache with amazing life, delicacy and complexity, while still being a great value and easy to love and Ian Brand does it style and transparent grace with his 2015 showing the vintages warm and concentration in a refined and almost raw presentation of flavors, it’s a serious wine, but with a lighter touch and focus, and while youthful it has a sense of sophistication and class in the glass, similar to Spain’s Garnacha hot spot Gredos de Sierra, as made by 4 Monos, Daniel Landi, Comando G and Alfredo Maestro. In California, Grenache’s star is rising with wines from many producers and regions giving this grape a spot among the states elite wines with many different forms from powerful/dense examples from Saxum, Sine Qua Non, Stolpman, Sans Leige to the more earthy/lighter examples like Sheldon, Tribute to Grace, Pax, Birichino and this La Marea version by Ian Brand that has a zesty freshness and bright spicy nature. The 2015 starts with dusty raspberry, floral tones and a spicy herb note, opening up to layers of tart cherry, guava, minty anise, warm stones and a hint of earth before a core of strawberry, plum and pomegranate awakens in the mouth along with a faint trace of wood, Ian used only neutral French oak here to allow this site to shine through without any distraction as well as allowing a natural lift from acidity and subtle ripe tannins. This wine seems brisk and gripping, but cuisine changes everything bringing a much more textural impact and darker fruits, this wine has even greater potential in the coming years, best to give it another 2 to 3 years, or be sure to have with robust foods. Brand’s new set of releases is brilliant and this one is a sleeper in his latest series, be sure not to miss it, but also look for his 2015 Monte Bello Road Cabernet Sauvignon, a Margaux like beauty that has the authentic feel of Corison and terroir markers similar to Ridge, from just down the road, as well as Ian’s 2016 Bates Ranch Cabernet Franc, which is a pure California version of Franc, somewhat between Loire and Bordeaux in style, but with a polished California opulence, it is one of the best wines for the money you can find! If you are a Grenache freak, you’ll want to discover Brand’s La Marea, especially this one with its pretty ruby/garnet hue and its lingering savory edge and his sweet(er) and chalky Chalone AVA Brosseau!
($38 Est) 93 Points, grapelive

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