"Michael Cruse is the man behind Ultramarine, Californias currently most fashionable sparkling wine, and came to wine by listening to the thoughtful Terry Leighton speak. His Cruse Wine Co. focuses on more off the beaten path varieties, and his Monkey Jacket red is an esoteric blend of fifty-one percent Valdigui, thirteen percent Carignan, ten percent Syrah, eight percent Pinot Noir and St. Laurent and the last eighteen percent, an unknown field blend. Twenty percent of the blend included whole clusters and the wine was raised in a variety of vessels, including cement tanks, stainless steel and old oak puncheons. The 2018 is 12.5 percent octane and offers up a lovely and complex bouquet of black cherries, lavender, woodsmoke, tree bark, dried eucalyptus and heather. On the palate the wine is bright, full-bodied and nicely light on its feet, with a good core and soil signature, moderate tannins and a long, complex and very wellbalanced finish. This is a bit youthfully chewy on the backend right now (though certainly quite drinkable), and may be even better with four or five years in the cellar. Fine juice and an utterly unique red wine!"
91 Pts John Gilman