Here’s the scene: it’s Friday afternoon, and you’ve crushed it at work all week. You wrapped up that big project and high-fived your way out as you left early and managed to skip all the traffic. You get home in time to light the grill while the sun is still setting (when was the last time that happened!?) and you settle in for a much deserved celebratory evening. I’m not talking about the kind of celebration that requires days of planning or expensive linens, but the kind that comes together simply with good company, a favorite recipe, and a delicious bottle of wine. It’s casual in precisely the way you want it to be.
This red blend, based predominantly on the long-forgotten Valdiguié grape, is made purely for this occasion. It harkens back to a time when wines were made to pair with your meal at home, not to compete with high octane cocktails (or to impress some influential sommelier crowd). San Francisco-born Michael Crus has set out to capture the old California spirit in a bottle - the can-do energy, the optimism, and the sunshine - just for you. Why? Because he thinks you deserve a great glass of wine at the end of the week, or on a mere Monday evening, not just on special occasions.
“I make wine in a style of California that is undervalued now. Prior to the Judgement of Paris, prior to (Robert) Parker, California made wines for the table, for drinking, predominantly for the Catholics. we have a lot of sunshine that makes drinkable wines (and) I’m trying to capture that California.”
In case you’re wondering what exactly “California in a bottle” feels like, this wine has a bouquet of aromas that develop from a brooding earthy quality into ripe, juicy fruit, finishing with a perfume of wildflowers, cherry, plum, smoke, and licorice. How can so many qualities fit so seamlessly together, so beautifully you almost don’t want to move on to tasting it? Just the same way they do in California where the ocean meets the mountains, the mountains meet the vineyards and orchards, and it’s all basking in the glow of our year-long sun. Yes, this wine is complex, but this isn’t a wine to swirl and sniff all evening. It’s not a serious day at the museum, but rather, it’s a day galavanting around the Bay. It’s a wine to be enjoyed with friends - and it’s perhaps the best grape juice you’ve had in a while.
So what do you pair with California spirit and sunshine? That’s easy! That juicy fruit quality means it can handle the sweetness of a bbq sauce or roasted veggies. The smoky aromas and subtle grip of tannins will play beautifully with charred and grilled meats. And that earthy floral combination makes it a total home run with lamb.
Pairs perfectly with: