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Great Sustainable Wine: RIVERBENCH “Cork Jumper Rosé” Blanc de Noirs

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94pts

Price Range : $50 - 55

Region: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara, California Vintage tasted: 2014 Ready to drink: As soon as you get your hands on a bottle Mainly available at the winery

Well off the beaten path and well worth the discovery effort, Riverbench, in the Santa Maria Valley, is one of California wine country’s best kept secrets. This is your greatest deep cut winery, like “Within You Without You” on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album or “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” on Tom Waits’ Bone Machine

Swallow this: a boutique, hidden Santa Barbara County winery dedicated to producing sustainable sparkling wines, a.k.a. American “Champagne,” since 2008. RIVERBENCH’s “Cork Jumper” 100% Pinot Noir-based Rosé Blanc de Noirs holds up pretty darn well against its more legendary counterparts, like the Dom or Ruinart, and comes at a fraction of the price. Some might even prefer the less austere and friendlier tone of the Riverbench. 

American palates don’t quite align with the austere and pristine aesthetic, typically. This winery gets American Champagne just right–clean, vibrant, focused and crisp, a tight grip on the palate yet easygoing. This is superbly classy, sophisticated and elegant bubbly with a determined personality–forward in its yeasty, almondy, hazelnutty, Mandarin orange and young apricot notes. Just the right touch of seriousness and weight and, ultimately, just totally drinkable and enjoyable. Like every American would want it.

 

January 30, 2024

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