We have been fans of Michael Cruse for a long time. His "Ultramarine" label is a sparkling-wine only label and produces some of the most sought-after, delicious, and hard to get bubbles in America. A few years after establishing Ultramarine in 2008, Michael started his namesake winery Cruse Wine Co. Under the Cruse label, Michael focuses on creating lively, crushable, and unapologetically Californian wines that are fruit forward but driven by terroir. His flagship wine is Monkey Jacket, which explore some of the wonderful off-the-beaten-path vineyards from around the North Coast of California.
The 2018 Monkey Jacket is 53% Valdiguié with the remainder being old vine Carignan, a red field blend, Petite Sirah, and Tannat. It is a wine of impressive vibrancy and brightness on the nose, but with a palate of late summer in California, sunny, dry, and serious. The blend of these diverse terroirs showcase the beauty of Northern California, while still remaining accessible. The wine is bright and aromatic, with red and dark fruits and some spice which reminds you of a cru Beaujolais, but still remains true to California.