2021 Scratch Wines – C-47, Marsanne/Roussanne, Monterey County.
Sabrine Rodems, head winemaker at Monterey’s Wrath, has made a brand new series of blended wines, which will be a part of her personal Scratch Wines label with this beautiful C-47 white Rhone blend being the first to be revealed. Only about 60 cases were made of this 50-50 cuvée of Marsanne and Roussanne, done in a classic Northern Rhone style, which, while very expressive and lush has some old world charm that is close to what you’d find from Saint-Joseph Blanc and or Hermitage Blanc, it reminds me of Yves Cuilleron’s “Lyseras” Saint-Joseph, one of my favorites. The C-47 starts with delicate florals, liquid mineral, marzipan, citrus and fleshy/peachy stone fruits before revealing a dense full bodied palate with a creamy layering of apple, apricot, lemon curd, melon and golden fig along with bitter almonds, a touch of vanilla and wet rocks. Rodem’s newest wine delivers youthful vibrancy, but also follows Roussanne’s classic character with an oily/waxy quality, phenolic extract and as it opens it gains depth, adding honeycomb, Asian pear, tropical essences and butterscotch notes. People who are fans of richer styles white Rhone wines, will absolutely love this wine, as well as Chardonnay drinkers that enjoy the luxurious mouth feel of barrel fermented versions. Rodem’s C-47 Marsanne/Roussanne shows a deft touch, focusing on transparency and using mostly well used oak as well to promote purity and energy over weight and ripeness.
The main Boekenoogen Vineyard, which doesn’t get as much attention as some as its neighbors, was established in 1997 when the late John Boekenoogen took his cattle ranch, that had been in the family for five generations, and planted a vineyard, which is in the prime zone of the Santa Lucia Highlands. There are a wide variety of grapes here, but of course Pinot Noir is the main varietal and thrives in the cool marine climate which sees the cool Pacific breezes and is set on well draining sandy loams, though Rhone grapes have also done extremely well here, especially Syrah and Boekenoogen has taken advantage of these perfect conditions. Later in 2005, Boekenoogen planted and developed a new site, deep into Carmel Valley, which also shows some real potential and Sabrine Rodems has taken advantage of this Paloma Creek Vineyard to produce her upcoming release of C-47 white. Now run and managed by Garrett Boekenoogen, this Carmel Valley AVA site is wines like this one suggest it is full-filling its promise. Once a sleepy ranch, this Bell Ranch Vineyard has an interesting selection of grapes, including these white Rhone varietals, along with Viognier, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and even some Zinfandel. Set on a mix of sandy loams, gravels, alluvial deposits and California shales, Carmel Valley is capable of intriguing complexity and balance with its warmer days and cold nights, which helps retain zesty acidity, as Sabrine’s C-47 white shows. Thanks to Sabrine for the sneak peek of this delicious wine and I am excited to see her next offerings.
($69 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive