2018 Martha Stoumen Wines & Las Jaras “Bam Bam” Sparkling Valdiguie, Pétillant-Naturel, Mendocino County.
The ultra fun and cool red sparkler from Martha Stoumen, in collaboration with Las Jaras is a 100% Valdiguie Pet-Nat from the same vineyard in Mendocino that she gets her Carignan. This old vine site was just screaming to be expressed in a totally new way and Las Jaras and Martha Stoumen Wines hatched up a plan to make a unique California carbonic, petillant (sparkling) red wine, and the results have proven that they were not crazy, in fact this juicy/savory bubbly is about as fun as it gets without getting thrown in jail! The racy red sparkler Bam Bam by Stoumen is a continuation of her style and personality with a natural character showing tart cherries, black raspberry, wild plum and a red peachy note along with zesty spice, herb and earthy elements as well as a bright mineral and acid streak in a lightly fizzy medium bodied Pet-Nat. Not as heavy as Aussie sparkling Shiraz, but with that same kind of thrill and presence in the glass with the soft mouse adding to the enjoyment, this is a refreshing and low alcohol wine that goes great with food. Not much of this stuff was made, so while not cheap, it should sell out fast and is very cool, I went through the bottle insanely quickly, its quaffable charm is irresistible, I’m glad I had bottle of Stoumen’s signature Nero d’Avola to follow it up!
There is a lot to love with Stoumen’s latest set of wines, and a wide variety of things to try from delicate whites to rustic reds and of course this sparkler, I love the mentioned Nero d’Avola, but also be sure to check out her Carignan and the Varietal Incorrect Zinfandel. Stoumen joins an amazing list of young women winemakers that are doing exciting things here in California, like Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines, Jaimee Motley, Nicole Walsh of Ser Wines (who also is the winemaker at Bonny Doon), Megan Glaab at Ryme Cellars, Helen Keplinger, Sabrine Rodems (Wrath, Scatch & Kori), Annette Hoff of Cima Collina and Angela Osborne of Tribute to Grace just to name a few of my favorites, though the list is much longer! Stoumen, after winemaking stints in the wilds of the old world in the Languedoc and her time in Sicily, has certainly made a splash here and her talent is our reward with her lovely transparent wines that highlight her philosophy of working primary with organic grapes and sustainable growers to make low sulphur, low alcohol and authentic natural wines. Again you’ll need to act fast to get this food friendly Bam Bam Sparkling Valdiguie, and in case you not into bubbles, you’ll still want to check out Stoumen’s latest releases.
($45 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive