2020 Margerum, Cinsault, Margerum Estate Vineyard, Los Olivos District, Santa Ynez Valley.
The Margerum Estate Cinsault, 2020, the first time I’ve had this wine, was very juicy fresh and spicy with plenty of zippy character, it shows a lighter framed palate of tangy red fruits, making it a wine that benefits from a good chill and Summer cuisine. While ripe in fruit, there’s a zesty green spice note and plenty of natural acidity, it almost gives me the sensation of drinking a Blood Mary with the spice and celery, but is more fun in the experience than the hangover cure! The fruit profile here leans to tart cherry and wild plum, along with crushed raspberries, all supported by garden herbs, cinnamon and blood orange notes, with the body and structure of a Pinot Noir or a Trousseau, making it an e excellent quaffer and picnic wine. Doug Margerum, mostly known for his Rhone Reds, like his Syrahs and the M5 Chateauneuf-du-Pape style red blend, has been involved in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 35 years, especially for his time at the legendary and award winning Wine Cask restaurant downtown Santa Barbara where he presided over one of the state’s best wine lists. The Margerum Wine Company began a bit later in 2001, and was inspired by Doug’s love of local wines and personalities, with his close friendship(s) with with Bob Lindquist (Qupé) and the late and much missed Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat), being instrumental in his start. Margerum, it should be noted also does a fabulous set of whites and a Provence style Rosé, with their Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc being outstanding stuff. Doug has always tried to give back to the Santa Community and has mentored quite a few young winemakers there the years as well as tirelessly promoting the Santa Barbara region and for many years did a fantastic futures auction featuring some of the best wines ever made in the area, and I highly recommend a visit to the Margerum tasting room.

Doug Margerum’s Margerum Wine Company, focused primarily on the bounty of Santa Barbara’s diversity from Los Olivos to Happy Canyon, is committed to handcrafted small lot wines sourced only sustainable sites and top quality grapes. Part of Doug’s mission statement is the make wines with a true sense of the place, with pride of where they are grown. Margerum leans toward wines produced naturally, as well as, as they state clearly, to make wines that have individual character and personality, which this Cinsault really has. Margerum also does his Barden line, a label that is dedicated to expressing the terroir of the Sta. Rita Hills, again with Syrah playing a major role, along with cool climate Pinot Noir. I first met Margerum at the Wine Cask on a visit to Santa Barbara and it became a favorite stop to learn about new producers and rare local wines, as well as fantastic meals, and I was a fan of his earlier winemaking efforts, so it was good to catch up on the latest releases, all of which were delicious well put together wines. I really enjoyed this one, along with, as mentioned above, Margerum’s Riviera Rosé, the Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc and the M5 Red, plus the intensely herbal California Amaro, which is a rare cult Digestif, rivaling the best from Italy! The bright ruby colored Cinsault, which feels like a semi carbonic whole cluster style effort saw a short aging period to promote purity and freshness that highlights the best of this grape most commonly found in the Rhone, Languedoc and Provence regions of France, where historically it is mostly used in blends, though now starting to see more solo varietal love. Cinsaullt has been in California for ages, in fact there are still a few Cinsault vineyards that are 100 plus year old vines, like Lodi’s Bechtoldt Vineyard planted back in 1886, as used by Turley, while Margerum’s are baby vines by comparison, but still exciting! Again, I suggest checking out these latest releases at Margerum and enjoy them with food, where they really shine and come alive.
($32 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

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