Some people would argue that crows are, pound for pound, the smartest animals on the planet, but crows aren’t just clever, they’re also mischievous. You might recall that the name Dancing Crow comes from a story about these corvid characters “stealing” straws that had been put in the earth to lay out the vineyard for its first planting. Courbeau Rusé pays tribute to this intriguing quality; Corbeau means crow and Rusé comes from the same root as the word as ruse, so cunning, or maybe Crafty Crow, who is an avian cousin to Wile e Coyote.
This wine is a new addition to the Dancing Crow line up and it adds another dimension to our selection of what Lake County ‘s unique winegrowing diversity has to offer. The flat areas around Clear Lake itself, like Big Valley at around 1300’ elevation, are ideal for aromatic whites and that’s where we grow our Sauvignon Blanc. The volcanic Red Hills (1500-2300’) and surrounding areas like the Kelsey Bench on the western shore are great for full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, but the higher portions on the eastern side of the lake (2000-3000’), where Courbeau Rusé originates, are turning out to be the place to grow the grape varieties associated with the Rhône Valley in France; Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier.
Our goal with the Corbeau Rusé was to make a Rhône-style wine with an uplifting note of Lake County red-fruit liveliness. This wine consists of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 7% Viognier and 3% Zinfandel and it most closely resembles wines from the Gigondas appellation in France.
The grapes were hand harvested at night in mid-September. We picked slightly early to retain our signature freshness on the palate and then co-fermented the fruit to cultivate complexity. We employed a moderately cool fermentation to boost the fruit and floral notes. After fermentation, the wine is stirred every 2-4 weeks, to develop texture and preserve the vivaciousness of the fruit. A small addition of Mendocino Zinfandel was utilized to enhance the uplifting elements of the wine. The wine was aged for 6 months in French oak.
On the nose, the Corbeau Rusé delights with aromas of red fruit tart, plum and sweet Gardenias, generously followed by luscious flavors of blueberry, black cherry, and ripe fig, on a silky palate of harmonious fluidity and balance, finishing with an intriguing combination of thyme and gamey allspice.
If you’d like to try the wine, please go to our WINE SHOP