2023 I. Brand & Family Winery, Supertoothy, Skin Fermented White Wine, Central Coast.
I got a leak preview of a new and rare skin contact white wine from winemaker Ian Brand, which is going to released in July of 2024, that is mostly Sauvignon Gris, a grape you don’t see much of in California, as well as small amounts of Verdelho, a grape Ian has now added to his line of La Marea label, along with Pinot Gris and Chenin Blanc. This bright yellow gold Supertoothy is not as deeply hued or edgy as many “Orange” wines are, it shows off a crisp, bone dry and light to medium bodied palate of kumquat, pear, tangy peach, apple, earthy Cavaillon melon and quince fruits, which are accented by a saline sea shore intensity, plus loamy wet stone, bitter herbs, iodine and tart lemon rind. Brisk and austere by natural, Ian Brand’s Supertoothy, which sports a label designed by his son, will first be available to the I. Brand & Family wine club, with any bottles left over with be mainly sold directly at their tasting room in the Carmel Valley Village. Coming from vineyards that Ian works with on the central coast, all of which are sustainably farmed and rocky soiled sites, this exciting wine, also delivers a cool climate personality and Pacific Ocean influenced inner energy. Ian has told me many times that the Monterey region is maybe most exciting for white varietals and he’s really made it a challenge to argue with him, especially when you try his Arneis, Albariño, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, in particular his most recent vintages!

The debut of the I. Brand & Family Winery “Supertoothy” blend, is made from 68% Sauvignon Gris, 24% Verdelho, 4% Pinot Gris and 4% Chenin Blanc, and is based around a small block of the rare Sauvignon Gris grape on Vista Verde Vineyard in San Benito County. Sauvignon Gris, mostly found around the Bordeaux region, is a lightly pink mutation of Sauvignon Blanc that typically has smaller berries, high acid and a spicy profile which in this wine, as Ian Brand notes, showcases the calcareous soils of Vista Verde beautifully. Brand held the must of the Sauvignon Gris on skins for five days before pressing and fermented with endemic yeasts in stainless steel before aging the Supertoothy in neutral barrels for about 6 months. After which he blended it with the Portuguese white Verdelho, along with tiny splashes of Pinot Gris (that also saw skin contact) and racy Chenin Blanc for a wine that Brand calls zippy, special and decidedly delectable. This salty fresh, mineral driven and slightly phenolic skin fermented white came in at a nicely ripe, but vibrant 12.67% natural alcohol, making it a totally uniquely California wine, of which just 222 cases were made. This tasty 2023 Supertoothy, to best show its charms, should be enjoyed with food, and due to its less fruity character, so subtle cuisine choice work well, in particular goat cheese and or fresh raw oysters. These latest releases from the I. Brand & Family Winery, La Marea and Paysan labels are delicious, very interesting and value packed stuff, so I recommend checking them all out.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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