2020 The Language of Yes, Le Cerisier, Rosé of Tibouren and Cinsault, Central Coast.
The Language of Yes wines are a collaboration between Randall Grahm, post Bonny Doon Vineyard, and Gallo, the massive family wine company, exploring some of the unique sites and varietals in the Central Coast of California, which at first seems like an unlikely coupling, but it offers both great benefits and the first release from this partnership is this fabulous Le Cerisier dry pink wine that is a uniquely wonderful take on old school Provence Rosé. The genius and creative mind of Grahm is exploited to its full potential here with grape choices and labeling and Gallo’s resources, facilities and vineyards have paid off in this wine no question. At first crisp and mineral driven with a subtle fruit element, this The Language of Yes Rosé turns on the charm and adds a sensational textural quality that is surprisingly vinous and luxurious that gives this wine a presence, elegance and complexity that will remind you of maybe, the most famous Tibouren based wine, Clos Cibonne, which is high praise, as that wine regularly gets called the greatest dry Rosé in the world. This seductive Rosé has a slightly orange, pale pinkish hue and round medium bodied palate of racy citrus with blood orange and ruby grapefruit, peach flesh, sour cherry, watermelon and rosewater with that supple opulence of lees and a delicate caramel note. There is a fine cut of natural acidity and tart and tangy juiciness, like sour cherry and strawberry, brought into focus with the good dose of Cinsault in this vintage, making for a well judged and balanced effort that also allows this wine to be a refreshing sipper, though honestly this wine is made for serious meals and pairs excellent with a range of cuisine, though I would suggest sea food stews, steamed mussels in spicy broth and or with a selection of farm cheeses.
Tibouren, also known as Rossese di Dolceacqua in Italy, is a rare ancient varietal that is found primarily in the Cotes de Provence wines, where it is mostly used in the Rosé, like those of the mentioned Clos Cibonne and the Roux family that are credited with restoring its fame and make the most highly regarded version. Randalll Grahm is leading the charge in California to get more plantings of this grape and this 2020 Le Cerisier Rosé might be the first Tibouren based version in the state, at least it is the first I’ve seen and he has his blocks planted at his Popelochum Vineyard in San Juan Bautista, where he is doing an exciting grape breeding program. Tibouren, which is earthy and very light in pigment is, as mentioned, most common in the Provence wine region, though, as French ampelographer Pierre Galet suggests, the grape possibly could be from the Greeks, but also notes that the origins might actually be Middle Eastern. His studies seem to point to he uniquely shaped leaves of the Tibouren vine, that includes some deeply incised lobes that are usually seen in the Vitis selection of grape vines in the Middle East. Galet also explains that over hundreds of years the evolution of Tibouren it is likely that its ancestor vines were brought to Greece originally and then later introduced to France by the Ancient Greeks at their settlement in Marseille, which seems pretty easy to believe, though some think that Tibouren arrived much later in the 1800s as there is very little documentation to prove otherwise. Grahm believes Tibouren (Rossese) will play a big part in California’s wine future, and if the wines made from it are anything like this one, it would be hard to argue against that. Look for more offers coming from The Language of Yes wines this fall, including a pure Grenache, which I am excited to try!
($32 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive