2021 Russell Joyce, Vermentino, Cedar Lane Vineyard, Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County.
Bright, fresh and minerally crisp the brand new 100% Vermentino from Russell Joyce at Joyce Wine Co is a vibrantly dry example of this Mediterranean varietal that is really showing promise in California with this one delivering all of this grape’s potential and making for a lovely wine that is superb with Monterey’s bounty of sea foods and the coastal lifestyle. This bottling under Russell’s signature label saw just about 300 cases made, sourced from Arroyo Seco’s highly acclaimed Cedar Lane Vineyard, farmed by Mark Chesebro from vines set on the classic rocky and sandy loamy soils along with an Alluvial wash, where warm days and cool Ocean influenced nights provide the Vermentino with perfect conditions for ripe flavors and zesty acidity. The core here is salty and tangy with white peach, lemon/lime and tart green apple on the lighter framed bone dry and steely palate along with hints of wet chalk, oyster shell, citrus blossom, almond and a hint of herbal bitterness. Joyce’s collection of whites, including his Albarino, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and now including this Vermentino, along with his first ever white blend (Sauvignon Blanc 60%, 20% Albarino and 20% Vermentino) are all brilliant and racy wines.
Vermentino, also known as Rolle, is commonly found in Sardinia, the Tuscan coast, Liguria and in Piedmonte in Italy, as well as it France’s Provence and Rhone region, along with excellent examples coming from Corsica, especially, those imported by the famed Kermit Lynch, like Yves Leccia, Clos Canarelli and Abbatucci, which are some of my versions. And now in California we are seeing many awesome Vermentino offerings from throughout the state from Paso Robles to Dry Creek Valley and Carneros to here in Monterey with wineries such as Ryme Cellars, Filomena Wine Co, Unti, Tablas Creek, Bonny Doon, Sheldon, Chesebro’s own version, Paix Sur Terre and others are doing fantastic and very distinctive wines from this grape. Some credit needs to be paid to the Haas and Perrin families that through Beaucastel and Tablas Creek brought excellent clones to California. Joyce’s effort is ultra transparent and clean, very much in line with his house style for the whites, which is direct pressed, stainless fermented and matured for a short spell in neutral French oak, so promote purity and a laser like focus. This Joyce Vermentino feels electric in the mouth with riveting acidity, it is ultra refreshing, highlighting the place and vintage perfectly, I highly recommend this alternative white.
($30 ) 92 Points, grapelive