"Hints of lime blossoms, toasted nuts and wood smoke show on the nose of this very fairly priced bottling, whose previous vintages have been shown to age magically. Wood-fired pears and apples show on the palate, which will please both those seeking a bit of oak and those who enjoy a racier style of Chardonnay."
Vinous Reverie Notes
Ian Brand first moved to California from Utah to learn how to surf and ended up becoming Bonny Doon’s Assistant Winemaker for three years. During this time, he found a disparity in California wines, noting that as the quality of wines from California has gone up over the years, so, too, has the price, creating a wide gap between bulk juice and fine collectibles. He decided to change that by producing sustainably farmed, natural wines at great prices—not easy to do as a small-production winemaker without one’s own vineyards.
He starts by sourcing fruit from the Central Coast’s most unusual vineyards—many of which were challenged or depleted when he first started—to help bring them back to life and create some of the best expressions of terroir California has seen for the price. Le P’tit Paysan is one of three different labels he bottles under, a nod to the authenticity of French country wines, using classic French grape varietals.
Ian Brand would be the first to tell you that he isn’t very fancy. His winery is located in a warehouse in the farm town of Salinas—not the usual picture of wine country grandeur—but what he does, he does exceptionally well, with honesty, integrity, and a love of the land. With bright fruit, balanced acidity from Pacific breezes, and lip-smacking quaffability, he is offering a new expression to Central Coast wines. We think you’ll love his wines as much as we do!
This Chardonnay hails from a combination of iron-oxide vineyards at the foot of Jack’s Hill, on the east side of Salinas. After harvest, Ian vinifies the wine via whole-cluster fermentation, then presses it to tank, where it settles at cool temperatures for 24 hours. He then racks it to neutral oak barrels, one new French oak barrel and a stainless-steel tank, after which he ages it for five months. He allows 40% of the cuvee to undergo malolactic fermentation to round out the acids, creating a balanced expression of Chardonnay. Ripe with notes of pears and apples, and balanced with notes of lime blossom, this is the type of Chard. that will hit all the right notes for both those who like ‘em oaky and those who like ‘em lean.