Wine of the week: Crux, 2019 GSM Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Rosé
Brian Callahan of Crux Winery doesn’t expect to bottle much red wine from the 2020 harvest due to the wildfires and the pandemic. But the vintner said he appreciates the “high-tech” silver linings.
“It’s been nice to engage with our friends and customers in new ways,” Callahan said. “We’re hosting a monthly happy hour via Zoom and each month is a different topic. … In April we’re planning a Zoom vineyard tour to show folks the beauty of the vineyard in the spring. We’ve had Crux fans from around the world join in and we’ve had some great conversations.”
Callahan is behind our wine of the week winner — the Crux, 2019 GSM Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Rosé, 13.2%, $24. There’s an irresistible streak of wild strawberry in this rosé, with cherry and a kiss of watermelon in the mix. It has a subtle undercurrent of spice and great minerality. The refreshing blend is 51% Grenache, 37% syrah and 12% mourvedre. Balanced with bright acidity, the rosé finishes crisp and it’s striking.
Other tasty wines include: Bricoleur, 2020 Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.4%, $32; Pellegrini, 2019 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, Rosé of Pinot Noir and Carignane, 13.8%, $30; Cuvaison, 2019 Napa Valley, Los Carneros, Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.5%, $30, and La Prenda, 2019 Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir, 12.5%, $20.
As for the winning Crux rosé, Callahan said what gives it an edge is that it’s weighted to Grenache.
“In our opinion, Grenache is one of the top grapes in the world for producing a rosé,” Callahan said. “And just like with red wines, Grenache loves the company of syrah and mourvedre. Despite the rarity of Grenache-based rosé in California, it’s a very common rosé grape in the rest of the world.”
Callahan, 52, is the general manager and assistant winemaker of Crux, while co-vintner Steve Gower, 53, is the winemaker. They met as neighbors just north of Healdsburg in 2005. Now their vines are nearby and they say it’s a great place to grow Rhone varietals.
“Being here and surrounded by grapes, we couldn’t resist giving winemaking a try,” Callahan said. “As our vineyards came to maturity, the quality of the young fruit was too phenomenal to keep to ourselves. Crux was born with the harvest of 2012.”
A native of the Bay Area, Callahan attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and studied history and communications. In addition to his duties at Crux, he has a day job as a management consultant to the health care industry.
“Our size and span of control make us very nimble,” Callahan said. “With the wildfires and the pandemic, we’ve had to make tough decisions and find innovative solutions. Our focus is on the end product, the wine, and we won’t compromise on quality, a natural approach to winemaking and the safety of our guests and vineyard crews.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at email@example.com and 707-521-5310.