La Marea, made by The Chronicle's 2018 Winemaker of the Year Ian Brand of Le P’tit Paysan, is a tiny winery focused on single vineyard Spanish varietals “rooted in the sea, the soil and the sea air”. Brand believes Monterey and San Benito to be some of the most ideally suited climates in California for Spanish varietals. The proximity to the cool ocean waters Monterey Bay provides an optimal climate for Albariño while the warmer San Antonio and San Benito Valleys closely resemble the Spanish regions where these grapes thrive. This region, once the site of a shallow ocean bed millions of years ago, is one of the few spots in California with a high percentage of limestone found in the soil which gives the wines a high naturally acidity. As with his P’tit Paysan wines, Brand works with fruit harvested at lower Brix, ferments using a combination of native and cultured yeast, and favors neutral oak.
The Kristy Vineyard grows on the western bench over the Salinas River on the broken sediment of ancient sea beds where it is exposed to the consistent cooling winds off the Monterey Bay. Kristy is a special because Albariño in the vineyard reaches full phenological ripeness at low potential alcohol and bright natural acidity later in the season. Whole cluster pressed and cold fermented to preserve aromatics and freshness.