Appellation: Eastern Napa, Chiles Valley, and Suisun Valley, California
Grape Varieties: Valdiguié
Michael Cruse is renowned for his prowess with micro-production Californian sparkling wines, and perhaps equally so for his eponymous label of unique varietals long forgotten in California, many bottlings focused on Valdiguié, what was long ago known as "Napa Gamay". The Valdiguié grape is found on the Eastern hills of Napa, as well as Chiles Valley and Suisun Valley, some of the satellite appellations just outside the border of Napa Valley; only 21 acres remain planted today. Here, often dry-farmed, it contributes light and sweet hints of red fruits, good acidity and hints of earthy spices. "Nouveau" wines are traditionally not macerated long at all – evidenced by the brilliantly light color – and are released the same year as the harvest, generally without any influence of oak. Cruse's Nouveau is fun and snappy, and as he says, like "watermelon Jolly Ranchers with a thirst-quenching acidity."