Blue Ox “In the Mood for Love” / Sparkling Rosé (of Carignan)
Ricetti Vineyard, Redwood Valley, Mendocino, California 2019
We love to continue to champion this classic California underdog grape. It is enjoying a fresh restart thanks to the passion of Seven Percent producers, with a modern ethos looking at farming and winemaking in a more thoughtful integrated manner than was done here in the past. It can hardly be referred to as ‘obscure’ and perhaps its time is finally at hand. The versatility of this grape is obviously on display here, not only as a rosé but also as a sparkling wine, showcasing the potential range of the variety beyond what’s expected. California is poised to place Carignan in a whole new light and with a whole new set of dusty hands.
WINEMAKERS: Another set of alums from Chris Brockway’s heartfelt natural wine movement, Blue Ox Wine Co. began in the summer of 2017 when Josh Hammerling and Noah Kenoyer met while working at Broc Cellars. Noah also spends many a night on the floor as a sommelier at A16 Rockridge; which of course makes him near and dear to our southern Italian wine-loving hearts. The Ricetti Vineyard is a classic Mendocino hold-out, originally planted in the 1960s with the help of a little dynamite and a horse. To this day the Ricetti family organically dry-farms their vines out on the eastern bench of Redwood Valley. This is the ‘ancestral method’ of sparkling wine production, or pet-nat, where they leave 20 grams of sugar in the wine so that primary fermentation finishes inside the bottle creating this lovely, and lively, bubbly.
TASTING NOTES: A classic onion skin-colored rosé, the nose whips up some summer nostalgia of cotton candy and strawberry big league chew. The bubbles flash pretty red fruit finishing with a pop of spice and fresh picked lavender. Zippy with acid, this is as crisp as you’d want it without falling into the trap that is under-ripeness. That’s partly a testament to quality fruit, but Noah and Josh also show attention in avoiding the green bitter flavors that come with picking grapes too early. A refreshing pet-nat that doesn’t have any doughy lees character, but does tout juuust enough of that freshly fermented funk.