July is undoubtedly the most patriotic month of the year. With Memorial Day behind us, Fourth of July on the horizon, and summer fully settled in, there’s no better time than now to chill some domestic bottles and get to sipping. This month, I want to honor our great wine-producing nation and focus on some of my favorite producers located right in our own backyard. I’m calling this one our All-American box!
First, we’ve got a delicious white blend produced by my friend Dan Petroski. Dan’s pretty much a legend on the California winemaking scene. After living in Italy and extensively traveling around Europe, Dan returned to California more inspired by Mediterranean varieties than ever. He founded his winery, Massican, in the heart of the Napa Valley and decided early on to focus on all things Italian. ‘Annia’ is a blend of Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Chardonnay, which are three of northern Italy’s most important varieties. I’ll let you dive into the tasting notes for yourself, but just a head’s up, I almost guarantee that you’re going to fall in love with this wine. I first became passionate about Friulian wines back when I was working at Frasca in Boulder. The restaurant has a heavy focus on Friulian culture and cuisine, so pairing the region’s local wines alongside the dishes made sense. Every time I sip ‘Annia,’ I’m instantly transported back to my early sommelier days in Colorado. Grab a hefty pour and get ready to experience Friulano with a California twist.
Next up, we’ve got an acid-driven rosé of Pinot Noir from our friends over at Presqu’ile. If you’ve been following Verve for awhile, you know that our love for this winery knows no limits. These guys are honing in on the best that Santa Barbara County has to offer. Although I’m an advocate for sipping rosé year-round, there’s something undeniably festive about popping a bottle beside the pool and enjoying it beneath the sweet summer sun. Pinot Noir-based rosés are also extremely food-friendly, as their high acid and solid structure make them a perfect match for a variety of dishes, ranging from crisp green salads to spicy Indian or Thai favorites. I also want to point out that well-made rosés have the capability to age, so if you wanted to lay this down and revisit it in a few years, you’d certainly be in for a treat.
For our first red, we’re shooting back up to the North Coast to Michael Cruse’s eponymous winery. Aside from being a dear friend of Verve, Michael is one of the most talented winemakers in all of California. Although he casually refers to his wines as “thought- fully crafted table wines,” these bottles are far more elevated than he lets on. ‘Monkey Jacket’ is a Valdiguié-dominant blend that screams to be chilled and sipped outside. I love popping this wine at the end of the work day and savoring it alongside some charcuterie and olives. If you love this wine (which I’m sure you will), I can’t recommend his other bottlings enough.
Whether frothy St. Laurent-based pét-nats, aromatic Muscat, or flavor-packed Tannat is more your thing, Michael’s definitely got a bottle for you.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got our Sous-Marine Syrah. A Verve Wine exclusive! That’s right, you’ll only find this bottle here. I’m so excited to share this wine with you. Fruit for this peppery and dark-fruited Syrah comes from John Sebastiano Vineyard in Los Alamos (Santa Barbara) and is 100% whole cluster fermented. You’ll see in the tasting notes that the wine’s flavor profile was inspired by a certain Master Sommelier’s love for all things Northern Rhône. After tasting this wine for myself, I can’t sing its praises enough. This bottle screams Saint-Joseph meets SBC, which to me is the best of both worlds.
As our world continues to pivot, I hope that we’ll always remember that good wine and great conversation go a long way, and that happiness can be as simple as sharing a glass of wine with someone you love. I hope these bottles bring you copious amounts of joy during this sun-soaked season.
Dustin Wilson, Master Sommelier
Inspired by the great vineyard sites of Friuli, our friend Dan Petroski makes this Italian-inspired white blend in the heart of Napa Valley. Produced from Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Chardonnay, this aromatic wine oozes with flavors of juicy stone fruit, tart green apple, lemon rind, and white flowers. Massican is named after Italy’s southerly Monte Massico (the Massican Hills), which is the coastal, sea-influenced mountain range from which its founders come. For a refreshing taste of Old World meets New World, look no further than this mouthwatering bottle.
PAIRING IDEAS: The tangy acidity and supple fruit-forwardness found in ‘Annia’ make it ideal for serving with fresh sushi, crudité platters, or spaghetti with clam sauce. Drink up!
California rosé? You bet. This varietal rosé of Pinot Noir is produced by our friends over at Presqu’ile, located in the heart of California’s Santa Barbara County. Post harvest, the fruit is direct-pressed, fermented with native yeasts, and aged for five months in stainless steel. Notes of strawberries, tart cherries, cream, and sea air dominate the wine’s ultra-refreshing palate. When we say “so fresh and so clean,” we mean it. Serve chilled and let the good times roll.
PAIRING IDEAS: Rosé is one of the most versatile styles of wines to pair with food. Whether crisp goat cheese salads, spicy takeout, or fresh seafood is on the menu, one thing’s for sure: a refreshing glass of rosé will only make it better.
Cruse ‘Monkey Jacket’
Petaluma-based Cruse Wine Co. is hands-down putting out some of the North Coast’s best wines. These energetic and “thoughtfully crafted table wines” are produced by our friend Michael Cruse, who is no stranger to top-notch winemaking. ‘Monkey Jacket’ is a Valdiguié-dominant blend rounded out with smatterings of Carignan and Syrah. Fruit is 20% whole bunch fermented and aged in a combination of concrete, French oak, and stainless steel. This bright, fruit-forward red oozes with flavors of crunchy raspberries, fruit pie, white pepper, and wildflowers.
PAIRING IDEAS: The ripping acidity and low levels of tannins found in this crushable red make it perfect for pairing with baked seafood, charcuterie boards, or roasted vegetables. Serve chilled and get ready to have your thirst quenched.
A Verve Wine exclusive! This juicy, terroir-reflective Syrah is perfect for summer sipping. Fruit for this sustainably-farmed wine comes from John Sebastiano Vineyard in Los Alamos (Santa Barbara County) and is 100% whole cluster fermented. Notes of dark red fruit, potting soil, and cracked black pepper ooze from the wine’s silky and easy-drinking palate. Above all, this bottle was inspired by my love for the Northern Rhône. Old World, look out – this bottle’s about to give you a run for your money.
PAIRING IDEAS: This savory bottle of Syrah is perfect for serving with all things grilled. Whether red meats, veggie burgers, or portobello mushrooms are more your thing, this bottle is a solid option.