2020 Jaimee Motley Wines, Rosé of Mondeuse, Rorick Heritage Vineyard, Calaveras County.
The latest release of the Rosé of Mondeuse, Rorick Heritage Vineyard by Jaimee Motley is brighter and more delicate in style, much more entertaining to me personally, and shows a beautiful array of subtle fruit, floral notes and a faint earthy element in a crisp, mineral driven and spicy dry pink wine. The light to medium bodied palate continues to follow a distinct profile of flavors including notes of hibiscus tea, guava, shaved cinnamon, wet stones and peach as well as pink citrus, strawberry and watermelon all supported by zesty acidity and a steely frame. There is much more clarity in this vintage, it is less rustic or funky, making it very approachable and pleasing to just sip, while still being complex and very unique. Mondeuse, the classic Savoie alpine red grape, while extremely rare here, has been in California for a long time, probably since the late 1800s and was interplanted in some of the historic heritage vineyards, where it is still found today. At one point it turned up in Santa Maria, where it was sometimes confused with Pinot Noir, and where the late great Jim Clendenen made a version that he blended with Pinot as well as a single varietal version, both of which were my first experiences with the grape in California. Jaimee’s ruby/pink colored and vinous Rosé, might be the only ever bottled dry pink version of Mondeuse in the state and it joins an outstanding group of new generation Rosé wines made from lesser known grapes, like the Arnot-Roberts Rosé of Touriga Nacional and Filomena Wine Co’s Rosé of Cabernet Pfeffer!
This rarity is from the Rorick Heritage Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills region of Calaveras County, grown on limestone with top layer of schist, with long warm days and cool nights the Mondeuse has found a happy home here developing ripe flavors, though picked early to retain fresh acidity. Motley chose a unique route with her Rosé, going somewhat old school with traditional maceration and native yeast fermentation for primary before aging and malos in neutral oak cask with the wine resting on the lees for about 5 months. As mentioned in my prior reviews, Jaimee Motley, is one of the rising stars of the California wine scene and has joined the exciting team at the famous Stony Hill Winery in Napa Valley, where she’ll lead a new generation of wines here. Motley’s own label, which has really taken off, credits her travels to the Loire and Savoie, where she fell in love with Chenin Blanc and Mondeuse wines, as being the reason to get into winemaking in a serious way and these grapes have become her signature wines. I also love the almost Syrah like, dark and violet scented Mondeuse “Argillet” Santa Maria Valley that Jaimee does. Motley, as mentioned also, formerly an assistant winemaker at Pax Wines, was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland before moving to SF to peruse artistic talents, though after working in some of the City’s more iconic restaurants she caught the wine bug, which led to her exploration of those old world European wine regions. In recent years she has added a serious mountain Cabernet Sauvignon to her lineup, coming from the old vines in Carmel Valley, it also shows her touch with a mainstream varietal, it is well worth searching out, along with her Mondeuse based wines.
($26 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive