2017 Cruse Wine Company, Carignan, Evangelho Vineyard, Contra Costa County.
One of the most intriguing vineyards in California, the Evengelho Vineyard, a true heritage site, is all own-rooted on forty-foot-deep banks of beach sand alongside the Sacramento River Delta, now owned and run my Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Co. who notes, Evangelho is a totally unique site, planted in the 1890s in Contra Costa County which suits the old vine Zinfandel, Mourvedre and Carignane that is there. While Peterson’s Bedrock is a field blend from here, mostly Zinfandel, Michael Cruse has decided to explore just the Carignan(e) as a solo expression, and he has crafted a beauty from this historic vineyard. The 2017 Cruse Carignan is deeply colored, inky dark with a purple/garnet hue in the glass, but the wine itself is vibrant and wonderfully fresh showing blackberry, blueberry and tart plum fruits, light spicy/cinnamony tones, a touch of sweet and sour herbs, a bit of earthy/meay charm, mineral and a nutty/cedary edginess. Cruse has made a wine of lovely depth, old vine concentration and playful easiness that is really fun in the glass, it’s juicy without being jammy and complex without losing any pleasure, it’s impressive stuff. Carignan is the new black, from Pax to Ridge, it is a grape to explore, look for some intriguing examples from Martha Stoumen, Ryme, Skylark, Broc Cellars, The Princess and the Peasant, the mentioned Pax and Ridge, and in particular this Cruse Wine Co. all of which due justice to this underrated varietal, mostly known for its European and Mediterranean versions from Corbieres to Sardinia and for being in some Southern Rhone blends such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it is a minor player alongside Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Drink this Cruse 2017 Evangelho Carignan over the next 2 to 3 years as it really suits being drunk young, even though I wouldn’t be surprised to see it age well too.
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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