Well this is a fun little wine. These guys really like doing the South of France right. The LABEL even reeks of Provence, and the olive-oil shorty-capsule gets them an A+ in the presentation department. Light, transparent ruby-pink. A lot of purple hues. Funky green vegetal herbaceous nose, strong and smoky, thick with Herbs de Provence and rubber boot, fresh thyme and summer savory at the forefront, rubbed sage and rosemary as the foundation. And there’s floral, of course. Jasmine and honeysuckle with the obligatory dry lavender, but overall resides bright, fresh Jolly Rancher fruit, crazy light and concentrated, so sparkling young and dancing, pink-grapey and dusty orange.
Is this Mourvedre? It doesn’t really feel like it at all. And it’s not Syrah or Grenache. It just says RED WINE on the bottle–with no back label. Oh shit: it says “Carignane” right on the front. Good job, Steve. DUH. Well, that makes sense. It’s def carbonic, but not enough to get the CARBONIC KILLS TERROIR people all riled up. Tasting it just crams all that bright strawberry fruit down your throat–the carbonic a lot more apparent here. It packs quite a charge in the mouth, splashing bright red fruit on all surfaces, and letting the acid etch them slowly as it runs off. A beautiful backbone of dark woodsy Carignane-core emerges late-middle, but it too is bedazzled with sparkling fruit literally approaching a spritzy sensation. Tannins are present, but a mellow bunch–I wouldn’t call them soft: they’re just omnipresent in a dialed-back sort of way.
This wine is pretty high-strung. It is taut and rigid while going about everything in a joyous sort of way. Arrow-straight focus cheered on by pretty things on all sides softening the blow but not reducing its effectiveness. While light, it is extremely versatile in a European-table sort of way. A little more demonstrative than Cru-Bojo, the warm California sunshine has filled the South-France quotient. A little more Teutonic than Languedoc or France-Sud, it will still never be perceived as steely or rigid. It’s just flat-out fun wine. Find it.
2019 RAILSBACK FRÈRES Carignane California 13.2