2019 Broc Cellars, Love Red, North Coast.
Chris Brockway’s latest Love Red, a blend of old vine Carignan, Valdiguie and Syrah, is a Corbieres like, naturally styled and pleasing quaffer that is well, easy to love, with a fresh dark berry fruit profile, nice acidity, spice and with a delicate floral note. Broc Cellars is a small urban micro winery and winemaker Chris Brockway was a pioneer in California’s modern Glou Glou (natural wine) movement as well as one of the first to do Loire inspired Pet-Nat(s) in the state. The Love Red comes from a selection of vineyard sites in Mendocino and Solano counties, but is mostly based the Mendocino old vine Carignan and shows that grape’s main characteristics with vibrant black raspberry, plum, pomegranate and tangy cherry fruits along with a hint of peppery spice, dried herbs de Provence, crushed flowers, a touch of mineral, licorice and loamy earth. The medium bodied 2019 is pure and juicy, but zesty dry in feel, it went deliciously well with pizza and should be fabulous with picnic fare and an array of cuisine choices from hard cheeses to roast chicken, this is fun stuff to be enjoyed without pretense and with friends. I have always been a fan of Brockway’s wines and especially his Carignan based wines, along with his Chenin Blanc and Valdiguie Pet-Nats, as well as the lighter and bright Vine Starr Zinfandel, all of which show a talent for delicacy and low alcohol wines. All of Brockway’s Broc Cellars offerings are exceptional values, especially these Love series bottlings, that includes a white, a rosé, and this red blend.

The dark purple/ruby colored 2019 Love Red, which in this vintage was crafted from 77% Carignan, 15% Valdiguié and 8% Syrah grapes that were harvested early, as Brockway notes, to highlight the fruit and preserve the acidity in this wine, which adds to the taut zinginess here and makes this a red that can be served with a slight chill. In the winemaking, Brockway adds that the Carignan was fermented with a combination of whole cluster and de-stemmed grapes, while the Valdiguié and Syrah were 100% whole cluster, all of which gives a semi-carbonic effect. The Love Red was aged in a combination of neutral French oak barrels and concrete tanks with no additions and finished at 12.5% natural alcohol, making for a pure and focused wine that is made for drinking now, no waiting needed. Brockway sourced the grapes from three vineyard sites that employ sustainable, mostly organic and dry farmed methods that average 70 plus years with the Wirth Ranch, planted in 1948 in Solano County set between Napa and Suisun Valley, the certified organic Ricetti Vineyard, in Mendocino, is the main Carignan source, which was also planted just after WWII and Rosewood Vineyard, which also sits in Mendocino is the oldest of the vineyards, all of which have classic well draining California sandy loam and stony soils. The Broc wines always see spontaneous native yeast fermentations and ultra low to no SO2 in the wines with no new oak, all done to promote vivid flavors, which this Love Red delivers extremely well and highlights the quality of this vintage, I highly recommend it!
($22 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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