(Grape of Harvest Past)
A vigorous and vivacious vine, Valdiguié is now a bit of a ghost in it’s homeland in southern France. Once widely planted throughout the Languedoc and Provence, it has now faded to just a few hundred acres remaining in modern temps. It’s reign was short lived considering it’s a relative whippersnapper viticulturally; it didn’t get its first official mention until 1884, and a century later it has all but fizzled out of its home. Valdiguié was brought to the New World because it was such a sturdy producer, and hit its zenith here during Prohibition, when more grapes made for more merriment.
Maybe “jolie-laide” (french: beautiful-ugly) is a term of endearment, or a romantic description for finding beauty in the otherwise ugly, or maybe it’s that intriguing type of imperfect or blemished beauty, any which way, it’s probably not a reference to winemakers Scott and Jenny Schultz, who are both absolutely lovely. Jolie-Laide rose out of Scott’s time in the service industry: building restaurant lists and pouring and selling wine inevitably led to his deep fascination with winemaking and vit in California. When he became assistant to Pax Mahle at WindGap Wines, he started working with renowned vineyards and also with fairly obscure grape varieties like Valdiguié and Trousseau Gris, all while building his small brand which has become a darling of the nerdy wine world. The organic Rosewood Vineyard (also called the Buddha Dharma Vineyard) was planted in the far-flung hills of Ukiah in the 1940s in sandy clay loam. This was just after Prohibition, at the height of the Valdiguié boom. The Val de Rosé was picked early for acidity, whole cluster pressed and spontaneously fermented in stainless, concrete and neutral oak, and aged for 6 months before being put in this beautiful bottle.
This is just about as pretty as any pink can be, the color is as fun as a rose parade, and the wine follows suit flashing playful layers of bubblicious Big League chew, leading into briney watermelon rind and a lovely lusciousness… this rosé transcends to the next level. There’s a Turkish delight and rose water pretty confectionary character that keeps on quenching. It’s also fantastically like an aperol spritz but in a wine bottle, with gently bitter orange and an aromatic prosecco-like bouquet, there’s nothing simple about this summer sipper.