2023 La Marea by Ian Brand, Verdelho, Monterey County.
Here’s a brand new, cool and mineral crisp white wine from Ian Brand made from the Portuguese Verdelho grape and under his Spanish inspired La Marea label, which also has an Albariño, a local favorite and killer old vine Grenache wines, all of which are savvy value priced offerings. The new Verdelho is a perfect sardine sand or oyster wine, perfect for fresh Summer refreshment, beach sipping and picnics with its lighter and zesty personality showing off zippy lemon/lime, white peach, melon and tart apple fruits, along with saline, wet stone, bitter almond and sour grass. The grape is not unlike Sauvignon Blanc naturally, but in this case and made to be drunk young, there’s less intensity of aromas and or gooseberry accents. The Verdelho grape variety comes most famously from the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco where it is made into those iconic maderized wines, from Rainwater to Malmsey, originally and accidentally made by the British who sailed barrels through the heat of the Equator.

Ian Brand, who is mostly known for his reds, like Grenache and Cabernet Franc, told me recently that he’s getting really excited with the white wine grapes in the greater Monterey region and his latest set of wines reflects that, with his Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnays, the mentioned Albariño, Melon de Bourgogne, the rare Arneis and this new Verdelho all being distinctive, thrilling and delicious! There’s quite an exciting set of white grapes growing in the Monterey region, many from Spain and Portugal, as well as Mediterranean varietals, like Vermentino and Malvasia, which have become very popular, along with a lots of white Rhône grapes, including fun rarities like Picpoul and Clairette. So there’s plenty to explore here in this large and diverse Coastal region that has many unique terroirs, such in the stony soils and warm days you find in the Southern zone, where this grape, which retains loads of fresh acidity is grown. This white wine saw a stainless steel fermentation and an ultra short lees aging period to capture the vitality and freshness of the long cool growing season, being bottled very quickly, similar to Basque white. This wine is part of Brand’s latest club release and is now available at his tasting room!
($25 ESt.) 90 Points, grapelive

By admin