2019 Combe, Trousseau Pet’ Nat, Dry Sparkling Wine, Stolpman Vineyards, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley.
The success of this Combe Trousseau Pet’ Nat by Stolpman Vineyards is easy to see, it is a well made and delightful dry and zesty, Brut style sparkling wine with mineral fresh intensity and lightly earthy fruit, making for an vibrant and slightly frothy quaffer that is a perfect aperitif or appetizer wine. The Combe Pet’ Nat is made from night picked estate grapes that are transported to Petaluma and carefully crafted there by one of California’s best sparkling wine winemakers, Michael Cruse, who is famous for the high quality versions of Pet’ Nat and Methode Champenoise made under his Cruse Wine Co and Ultramarine labels. The Combe Pet’ Nat is fermented towards dryness and was placed into bottle under crown-cap with just a touch of natural sugar remaining to allow a second fermentation that finishes in bottle creating the bubbles. Stolpman notes, that Michael disgorges each bottle, removing any solid yeast material and lees from the bottle prior to release ensuring clarity and a consistent and elegant mousse. The 2019 is one of the best and with a little extra age now it has gained some secondary character and roundness showing preserved citrus, muskmelon, bruised pear and peach notes on the light to medium bodied palate that adds some creamy elements and contrasting tanginess with the delightful energetic beading of the mouse, it was a nice way to celebrate a Sunday afternoon.

Pete Stolpman’s most esoteric project is labeled “Combe” which he was spurred on to do with a push from Raj Parr, the famous Sommelier who is based in Santa Barbara, with the name referring to the French word for a small sheltered valley within a vineyard where Stolpman grows tiny parcels of Chenin Blanc, Mondeuse and Trousseau, that is used to make this fun and unique bubbly. Sometime around 2010, Pete became convinced of the great potential for the pale red Trousseau grape, most famously grown in France’s remote Jura region, thinking it would thrive on the limestone soils of Stolpman’s estate vineyards. Stolpman and Parr decided to make a light red Trousseau, like the classic Jura wines, like those of Ganevat, Puffeney and the legendary Michel Gahier, and more geeky, a Trousseau Pet’ Nat or “Pétillant Naturel” an ancient method and faster way to make sparkling wine, it is a French term that roughly translates to “naturally sparkling. The first vintage for the Combe Trousseau wines was back in 2014, and Pete now have 3.5 acres planted to the varietal, which because of the success of them, hardly seems enough, these are always instant sell outs, especially this bottling. The Stolpman wines are class acts, with their Syrah offerings being exceptional and in recent years they have been adding to their So Fresh lineup that started with their fabulous and playful Love You Bunches -The carbonic whole cluster Sangiovese that has taken the hipster wine scene by storm, these So Fresh wines deliver exciting no pretense drinking pleasures and well priced to allow stocking up on your favorites.
($42 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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