Matt Kettmann on I. Brand: "Ian Brand is quite possibly the most interesting vintner in Monterey County today. The Connecticut-raised, former Bonny Doon cellar rat and one-time assistant at Big Basin is sourcing from so many distinct, often old-vine sites, and spearheading so many different consulting projects. Though quite varied in styles and grapes, the wines are all very energetic, distinctive and extremely fairly priced.
Brand and his wife, Heather, who got him into wine, produce three brands: Le P’tit Paysan, a $19 to $22 line that includes fresh Rhone red blends, Chardonnay and rosé; La Marea, which focuses on Iberian varieties such as Albariño and Grenache; and their recently released top-end, single-vineyard wines under the I. Brand & Family label, which include Cabernet Sauvignon from Montebello Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains, two Cabernet Francs (one from Santa Cruz, one from Paicines), and an old vine Mourvedre from the Enz Vineyard in Lime Kiln Valley. The production amounts to about 10,000 cases, and he makes an additional 10,000 cases for a dozen clients as well. That all happens in a warehouse winery on the fringe of Salinas."
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