Brij Wines, SLO Coast “Oso Rouge”
Brij Wines, SLO Coast “Oso Rouge”

Brij Wines, SLO Coast “Oso Rouge”

California, United States 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00
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Brij Wines, SLO Coast “Oso Rouge”

Let’s cut to the chase: You’re going to want a steady supply of Brij Wines’ “Oso Rouge” on hand all summer long. Loaded with juicy berry fruit, a satiny yet energetic structure, and out-of-this-world drinkability, it’s pleasure-first winemaking raised to a high art form. No surprise; it’s made by the one and only Rajat Parr, maybe the most accomplished wine professional on earth. Light, chuggable reds are a dime a dozen these days, but it takes the incredible skill and sensibility of someone like Raj to produce them in a varietally correct and terroir-expressive way.

“Oso Rouge” is a bottle hand-crafted by a winemaker who drinks blue-chip benchmarks and avant-garde natural wine in equal measure. Organically farmed, spontaneously fermented, and with zero added sulfur, it’s got everything we love about hands-off winemaking – the brightness, the vivid fruit, the invigorating refreshment – and nothing we don’t (the flaws). It’s a bottle ready to be enjoyed as easily chilled at a poolside barbecue as it is on the dinner table on a quiet summer evening. There’s frankly not a warm-weather situation it doesn’t work for. So be sure to load up!

What hasn’t Raj Parr done? He’s worked in seemingly every aspect of the wine business, and is a force to be reckoned with in each. First he was a groundbreaking sommelier, running beverage programs and/or partnering in some of the most influential wine-centric restaurants in the country. He then embraced the “New California” movement, both in his role as an organizer of the famed “In Pursuit of Balance” tastings and in starting the Sandhi and Domaine de la Côte wineries in Santa Barbara. He helped kick off the current Oregon Chardonnay craze with his time at Evening Land. He even imports some of the most coveted barrels and casks in the world. 

Lately, though, Raj has whittled his work down to focus exclusively on farming and winemaking. At his Phelan Farm in Cambria, on the San Luis Obispo Coast, he’s forging new ways forward for California viticulture by planting rare varieties like Jacquère and Mencía and farming that goes far beyond organics. With his Brij project, he sources fruit from like-minded growers near Phelan, offering himself the opportunity to work with a wider palette of varieties and styles. Today’s “Oso Rouge” is 65% Mourvedre and 35% Grenache, sourced from the Rancho Arroyo Grande vineyard. The ranch is about 20 miles from San Luis Obispo itself, where the ocean breezes begin to taper off and sun-loving varieties like these can ripen more fully. The varieties were picked a few days apart and turned into wine in the simplest manner possible: 100% whole cluster, in open-top fermenters, bottled unfined, unfiltered, with zero added sulfur. Aging takes place in used barrels of assorted sizes.

At barely 12% alcohol, it’s incredible just how much oomph and dynamism is crammed into such a drinkable package. “Oso Rouge” is vibrant and refreshing, but you can feel the Santa Barbara sun in it.  It pours a translucent ruby with hints of purple, and a slight hint of residual gas from the spontaneous fermentation. Feel free to quickly decant it to diffuse the gas, but we personally think the very faint prickle only adds to the drinkability. Crushed raspberry, Bing cherry, blackberry, blueberry, plum skin, sandalwood, violets, and black pepper combine on the nose, drawing you in. The palate vibrates with tension and lift, while carrying pleasingly soft textures and depth, wrapped up by a zippy, mineral finish that readies you for the next sip. You won’t be able to decide if you should be swirling and pondering over the complexities, or just throwing back another glass. Our only advice is to grab enough to do both! 

Brij Wines, SLO Coast “Oso Rouge”

United States


Columbia Valley

Like many Washington wines, the “Columbia Valley” indication only tells part of the story: Columbia Valley covers a huge swath of Central
Washington, within which are a wide array of smaller AVAs (appellations).


Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become an elite winegrowing zone in record time. Pioneering vintner David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyard, planted the first Pinot Noir in the region in 1965, soon to be followed by a cadre of forward-thinking growers who (correctly) saw their wines as America’s answer to French
Burgundies. Today, the Willamette
Valley is indeed compared favorably to Burgundy, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. And while Pinot Noir accounts for 64% of Oregon’s vineyard plantings, there are cool-climate whites that must not be missed.


Santa Barbara

Among the unique features of Santa Barbara County appellations like Ballard Canyon (a sub-zone of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA), is that it has a cool, Pacific-influenced climate juxtaposed with the intense luminosity of a southerly
latitude (the 34th parallel). Ballard Canyon has a more north-south orientation compared to most Santa Barbara AVAs, with soils of sandy
clay/loam and limestone.


Paso Robles

Situated at an elevation of 1,600 feet, it is rooted in soils of sandy loam and falls within the Highlands District of the Paso Robles AVA.

New York

North Fork

Wine growers and producers on Long Island’s North Fork have traditionally compared their terroir to that of Bordeaux and have focused on French varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

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