2021 Paysan by Ian Brand, P’Tit Pape, Rhône Style Red Wine, Central Coast.
This 2021 vintage is by far my favorite of Ian Brand’s tasty Paysan P’Tit Pape and it way over delivers in the quality to price ratio, as it always does, but this year’s version is next level stuff competing with wines that sell for 3 to 5 times more! Made from top vineyard sites, in Monterey, Santa Clara and San Benito counties and set mainly on decomposed sandy soils with some shales, limestone/calcaeous rock and loam, this Chateauneuf du Pape meets California red blend is made up of 47% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 15% Mourvèdre and 6% Counoise. Lush and generous on the palate, but still finely detailed and in no way overtly fruity or heavy, this 2021 P’Tit Pape shows off what these Rhône varietals can do together, providing harmony and complexity with beautiful purity. This excellent and deftly crafted wine delivers a sultry layering of black raspberry, plum, pomegranate, candied cherry and tangy currant fruits, along with sage, anise, lavender, crushed violets, cracked peppercorns and a hint of umami and leathery earthiness. The aromatics, its almost Mediterranean warmth, a chalky/stony element and natural acidity really combine here to push this wine up a level and make it faithful to its inspiration! There’s an old world charm here, as I love Gigondas and Vacqueyras, this one with its good dose of Syrah, definitely hits all the right spots, adding a touch of black olive and mineral. There’s a lot to like about the latest releases at I. Brand and Family Winery, with Ian’s signature series, that includes some impressive Cabernets, along with this one, being standouts.

Ian Brand, as I’ve said or stated for years now, is a vineyard whisperer that has raised the game in sites that had maybe gone unnoticed or were not appreciated at times, as seen here with his Paysan P’Tit Pape where he has strung together all sustainable and or organic certified vines ranging from 15 to 100 years old on a mix of terroirs and soils to make a gem of a wine. For his little Chateauneuf themed red, Brand, as per normal, picked for freshness and moderate sugars, fermenting each varietal in separate small lots using indigenous yeasts and employing partial whole cluster to achieve just the right amount of crunchiness and lift, while maintaining the wine’s ease of use and pleasure. Once dry the wines are pressed and racked to a variety of vessels, mostly concrete vats, but with some neutral, once used and twice used barrels, along with a few larger Puncheons where the P’Tit Pape aged for 10 months. Afterwhich, Brand and team carefully selected the component make up, rack the wines off the lees and blended the chosen lots and let it settle in the vessels for another 5 or so months before bottling unfined and unfiltered. There’s a sense of coolness and grace that comes with lower alcohol wines that I admire, with this one coming in at a tick over 13%, which feels right on the medium bodied palate, making it also a wine that deepens with food. I was lucky enough to try some of the lots, before the final blend was done and those really showed off the quality of the vintage and had very different personalities, making it a tough decision of percentages, but in the end result, all turned out fabulously well and Brand captured the essence of the year to near perfection, I highly recommend stocking up on this one.
($25 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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