Press Highlights

33 Rosés to Drink All Summer Long
I tasted more than 120 rosés in researching this piece, and was struck not just by the diversity of styles and flavor profiles, but also by the exceptional quality to be found at every price imaginable… and from all over the world, from France, Italy, and New Zealand to California, Oregon, Texas, and beyond.

I’ve included bottles here that are wildly popular and priced to be enjoyed any day of the week, as well as rosés that rise to Grand Cru Burgundy levels of price and collectibility. There is a rosé out there for everyone. Which is a beautiful thing, because these days, all of us could use a glassful of the kind of unselfconscious joy that great rosé so reliably provides.

Here are 33 of my favorites.
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
Fantastic acidity and concentration: The mid-palate bursts with bright, wild red berry fruit and a suggestion of flowers, but it’s the finish that remains in the memory most powerfully, with pink peppercorns, jasmine, and orange oils. Keep an eye on this producer: You’ll be hearing more about their wines in the future.
—Brian Freedman, May 2020
Start a Wine Collection with These Amazing and Affordable Wines
You don’t need a wine cellar and a collecting habit to drink well—the wine world is a grand and fabulous place abundant with delicious deals. Wines that taste world-class, are suited to aging and in some cases boast a noble pedigree are within reach; one just needs to ask the right questions. I look to sommeliers and smaller owner-operated wine retailers for their intel on wines that are overlooked or have great fruit but are not the showy first label bottlings—and I always ask about what they have stashed at home. You’ll love these suggestions below as much for their taste as for their price. Below are my top eight so far this year.
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir 
A lovely, elegant pinot noir grown in Mendocino—a less showy wine region with loads of potential. Suffused with notes of sour cherry, spice and earth this wine showcases the magic that can be achieved from cool climate viticulture. It’s the passion project of Kyle Jeffrey, Brad Jonas, and Miriam Pitt,—whose shared goal is to “make wines we love to drink and that pair well with food, so they tend to be high in acid and low in alcohol.” They work exclusively with sustainable and organic vineyards, most of which are also dry farmed. You’ll get world-class purity of expression and the vibrancy of a cool climate wine for $
—Katie Kelly Bell, September 2020
New-wave California
...Obviously I did not have time or energy to taste all 500 wines so had to choose producers who seemed to me to represent the most exciting new wave of California, together with a few old friends who have been producing lighter, fresher wine for ages.
Minus Tide
This relatively new enterprise – first official vintage 2017 – was started up by Kyle Jeffrey, Brad Jonas and Miriam Pitt, who met at Cal Poly. Kyle and Brad were studying winemaking in 2010. They specialise in wines grown in Brad's native Mendocino, including the oft-overlooked Mendocino Ridge close to the ocean. The name is inspired by the super-low tide that Brad would encounter that is particularly good for harvesting seafood. All three have separate day jobs in wine. Kyle works at a natural winery and brewery on Treasure Island. Brad makes wine for Toulouse winery in Philo, Anderson Valley, where they make their wine. And Miriam does PR for wineries on the west coast including Spottswoode. They don’t own any vines but all grapes are Mendocino… all but the Syrah is dry farmed. All native yeast and French oak. Total annual production is only about 600 cases but I was impressed by the quality.
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan - 17: Superior
100% Carignan. The red expression of their delicious rosé. In 2017 they did 100% carbonic maceration with the aim of making a light, juicy red, but 40% carbonic maceration in this 2018. Pressed pretty early, to avoid too much tannin. This smells a bit more recognisable as Carignan. Quite a bit of freshness and a fruity core. Not mean but with marked acidity. Silky texture. Quite obviously natural but not excessively so. Well done. A very good Carignan. Quite good length. Drink 2019 – 2022
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay - 17: Superior
100% Chardonnay. Vineyard is nine miles from the coast at 2,600 ft. The second-highest vineyard in the county. Mendocino Ridge is an AVA for the land above 1,200 ft, so-called ‘islands in the sky’ because the land is above the fog line. The vineyard belongs to Dan Dooling, who planted Pinot as long ago as 1979. It was almost all Zinfandel before. Chardonnay went in in the mid 1980s. Fermented and aged in neutral French oak puncheons. A little lees stirring in the first two months. Mendocino Ridge fruit can be very high in malic acid so they didn’t want to overdo it. Acids at picking are far higher than textbook would allow (picked at pH 3.1). Picked mid September during a heatwave. Spontaneous malo finished during the 2018 harvest! So total SO2 is about 40 ppm – none before bottling. Slightly cloudy – unfiltered. Quite rich and savoury but not sweet. Good tension. Very neat. More body than many Sonoma Coast Chardonnays. Drink 2019 – 2024
2018 Minus Tide Manchester Ridge Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay - 16.5++ : Distinguished
100% Chardonnay. This vineyard is 3.5 miles from the coast and you can see and hear Manchester below. Fermented in neutral puncheons. 11% new oak – a half-barrel. Picked 24 September. Deep greenish gold. Spicy notes. But actually the green-fruit flavours and acidity are more marked than in the 2017 Mariah Vineyard. Partly because of the vintage presumably. Drink 2021 – 2025
2018 Minus Tide Valenti Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Syrah - 16.5: Distinguished
100% Syrah. First vintage. One of the coolest Syrah vineyards, planted in 1998 six miles from the coast at 1,300–1,600 ft. A vineyard that can ripen at 19 to 20 Brix. Picked 30 October! Very cool site. Just 2 acres of Syrah in a Pinot and Chardonnay vineyard. 75% whole bunch. Aged in neutral French oak. Smells of ripe Syrah. A little bit of rotundone but smooth and juicy. Lots of sweet fruit. Finishes dry. Not too austere. Drink 2020 – 2024
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé - 16.5: Distinguished, VGV: Very Good Value
100% Carignan. Second vintage from 112-year-old, dry-farmed, head-trained, 7-ft tall vines in a cooler part of Hopland on an old riverbed. They pick the fruit a second time for the red. Minerality from the soil, they hope. Root systems presumably enormous. Surrounded by more fashionable varieties. Carignan grape price has almost doubled in five years. Very pale salmon colour. The grapes sat in the press for about an hour. Very pretty and with a nice balance of acid and fruit and a good dry finish. Pretty and perfumed. I don’t think I could tell this was a Carignan, if tasted blind. Drink 2019 – 2021
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir - 16: Distinguished
100% Pinot Noir. From Dan Dooling. 35% whole bunch, neutral barrels. Hand punchdowns in small bins. 17 days on skins. Picked the same day as the Chardonnay in mid September. 10 months’ ageing. Probably grafted-over old vines. From a hot year. 116 °F at the winery. Very fruity nose. Winemaker Brad Jonas says Mendocino Ridge Pinot is more savoury than, for instance, Anderson Valley, though to me this wine is predominantly fruity. Very clean and direct. Good fruity core. Probably not for very long ageing. Drink 2019 – 2022
—Jancis Robinson, June 2020
Year's Best US Syrah & Rhône Varieties
2018 Minus Tide Valenti Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Syrah - 93 Points, Best Buy: Exciting; Distinctive; A wine that transcends simple typicality to its region or variety —a vivid, singular expression of place.
Brad Jonas, a coastal Mendocino native, is the assistant winemaker at Toulouse Vineyards in Anderson Valley. His wife and partner, Miriam Pitt, handles wine accounts at J.A.M. PR. And Kyle Jeffrey, their partner in Minus Tide, is winemaker at Woods Beer and Wine in San Francisco. The three met at Cal Poly, began making wine together in 2015 and launched Minus Tide in 2017. Jeffrey and Jonas make this syrah from Valenti, a vineyard planted in 2001 on the uplift of an ancient seabed six miles from the contemporary Pacific. They ferment the fruit spontaneously, with a lot of the clusters intact (75 percent), then age it in neutral French oak, presenting a bright and lively syrah. It starts with a faithful reproduction of the coastal stink of that marginal site before that reduction blows off and the scent turns toward fresh thyme, orange blossoms and forest mushrooms. The savory fruit hints at Kalamata olives underscored by smoky mineral tannins. Delicious if you decant it now, this will benefit from a year or two of rest in your cellar.  
—Josh Greene, February 2021
The Flight of Spring: Rosés & Whites
A crop of crisp and delicious wines debuts
Rosé loves grilled and smoky flavors, and can be a refreshing antidote to fatty foods — precisely why it harmonizes so well with all kinds of charcuterie, and by extension pepperoni pizza. It’s beautiful with seafood, and can often absorb some heat; I enjoyed Minus Tide’s rosé of Carignan with a spicy cioppino I made last weekend.
Here are some rosés that have been keeping me going over the last couple weeks.
What I’m drinking
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
From 112-year-old Carignan vines, this lean, acid-driven rosé tastes like a just-ripe peach, with lots of red berry notes, and smells like lavender and wet stones. It achieves lots of flavor in a very delicate frame.
—Esther Mobley, May 2020
The 50 Best Wines Under $50
Picking my annual 50 under $50 list was extremely difficult this year. There are more delicious value wines than ever from around the globe. And I should know: I sampled a couple thousand of them in 2020.
Rosé for All Seasons
Full-flavored dry pink wines for savoring alone or with food
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
Three 28-year-olds founded this winery in Mendocino in 2017, and their wines are delicious, especially this dry, salty rosé made from 112-year-old carignan vines. 
—Elin McCoy, December 2020

Minus Tide
Minus Tide is a new winery founded by Kyle Jeffrey, Brad Jonas and his wife Miriam Pitt. Jeffrey and Jonas met at Cal Poly and serve today as co-winemakers. The current focus is on Mendocino wines and its cool climate characteristics.
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
Light orange/blush; aromas of fresh orange and red currant. Medium-bodied, this is tasty with a pleasant freshness and good acidity. The finish is off-dry, with just a hint of sweetness. Drink over the next 12-18 months. Very Good
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir 
Deep young garnet; aromas of bing and black cherry, marjoram and orange peel. Medium-full with very good concentration, this is spicy Pinot Noir with notes of cinnamon and baking spice, along with very good varietal ripeness, good acidity and medium-weight tannins. Enjoy now with roast pork or lighter game birds; peak drinking in 5-7 years. Excellent
—Tom Hyland, June 2020

26 Stellar Rosés to Welcome the Warmer Months
Today, dry rosé is an all-gender, warm-weather favorite the world over. 

One after another in our tasting proved beautifully balanced between ripe fruit and lively acidity, managing that delicate dance with grace and elegance.

We’ve concentrated on West Coast bottles here... any one of these beauties will make you forget continental dreams with the first sip.
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
Another of California’s rare Carignan rosés, this Minus Tide comes from one of Mendocino’s ancient (100+-year-old), head-pruned vineyards. Alive and brimming with character, the pale wine opens with perfumed and spicy potpourri aromas, followed by a bushel of red fruit—cherry and raspberry—layered with peach and almond melba notes.
—Sara Schneider, May 2020

Jancis Robinson on California’s New-wave Wines
Forget the expensive Napa Cabernets and the mass-market brands, there are gems in the middle price bracket
…But, in fact, California’s vitality and excitement lie neither at the top nor the bottom of the price scale, but in the lower middle where there is a much, much wider range of grape varieties, styles and appellations than there were 10 years ago.
They are typically produced by young, dynamic, innovative and independent winemakers. And that, I hope, is where California’s wine future lies.
Recommended new-wave California wines
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay 
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan 
Jancis Robinson, June 2020

2019 Minus Tide Buddha's Dharma Vineyard Mendocino Chenin Blanc - 93 Points
This white is sourced from an organic and dry-farmed 76-year-old vineyard owned by the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a Buddhist monastery. With its sense of sunshine and authenticity, it brings to mind a Buddhist quote: "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth." It possesses a flinty nature; racy acidity; and notes of fresh linen and white flower petals that are delicately lined with peach and pine nut.
—Meridith May, July/August 2021
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan - 91 Points
The use of 40% carbonic maceration offers a high-toned appeal to this juicy, bright red. Carignan is known as one of the heritage varieties of Mendocino County, and this dry-farmed, head-trained organic vineyard was planted in 1908. Aromas of red flowers, milk chocolate, and Rooibos tea are cheerful. On the palate, white pepper sparks tart cherry and blueberries. Tongue coating herbs and red licorice come to light mid-way with a parade of beets, basil and mountain brush following.
—Meridith May, September/October 2021
Wine of the Week
2020 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé

Our Wine of the Week, Minus Tide 2020 Mendocino County Feliz Creek Vineyard Carignan Rosé ($24), is one of the finest rosés I have tasted, perhaps ever. It is infinitely refreshing, with a forward flavor of salinity, as if you are being embraced by a gentle mist of ocean spray. The minerality, like cold river rocks or wet concrete after a morning drizzle, is engaging and compelling.

Fruit flavors are subdued and refined, a quality I appreciate. There is no suggestion of sweetness on the palate, as more fruit-forward wines display, even when they are fermented fully dry. I notice watermelon, near the tart rind, not the sweet heart. As the wine warms a bit in the glass, you’ll notice whispers of white nectarines and fresh-off-the-vine green beans.

It is a joy to pair this food-friendly wine at the table. It is extraordinary with sushi and sashimi and can hold its own with both commercial “wasabi” and the real thing. It is outstanding with traditional Hawaiian poke, Mexican ceviche, Peruvian ceviche and oysters on the half shell dressed with nothing more than a spritz of lemon or lime.

This wine is particularly good paired with a tangy goat cheese. A simple dish of spaghettini, fresh chèvre, a dollop of creme fraiche, fresh (not aged) garlic, Italian parsley and olive oil is an easy and stunning match. Certain sandwiches engage beautifully with this wine, too. A muffuletta welcomes it, and a baguette slathered with green olive tapenade, thinly sliced soppressata, and fresh goat cheese encourages the wine to blossom into its full, delightful self.
—Michele Anna Jordan, June 2021
A breezy rosé that’s as refreshing as the surf. This intentional carignan rosé has aromas and flavors of peach, watermelon and mineral. Balanced with bright acidity, it finishes crisp and has a great quench. Impressive.
Minus Tide, 2020 Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé is as refreshing as the surf, buoyed by crisp acidity and great minerality.

Gnarled vines pushing 113 years give you pause; the stories they could tell.

These ancient vines are the secret behind the Press Democrat’s wine of the week winner — the Minus Tide, 2020 Feliz Creek Vineyard Carignan Rosé, 13.1%, $24.

“We’re lucky to work with the oldest block of Feliz Creek Vineyard in Hopland, which is in eastern Mendocino County,” said Brad Jonas, co-owner and co-winemaker. “It’s a dry-farmed, head-trained, organic vineyard, and it produces a restrained expression of carignan that we find perfect for rosé.”

Other tasty rosés that competed in the line-up include: Argyle, 2020 Willamette Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, 12.5%, $27; Dutton Goldfield, 2020 North Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir, 13.2%, $30; Tongue Dancer, 2020 Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir, 14.8%, $22; and Castello Di Amorosa, 2020 Cresta D’Oro Vineyard, Green Valley of Russian River Valley Rosato, 13.6%, $35.

The Rhone varietal carignan also plays into this rosé’s unique expression, Jeffrey said.

“Mendocino has a rich history with carignan, and this 113-year-old vineyard is the perfect example of why the grape is so special,” he said. “In rosé, it brings an ocean spray-like salinity and has a mineral-driven backbone that makes it complex while still being completely delicious.”

Jeffrey and Jonas — both 32 — are millennials with the Minus Tide label as their side project. The brand’s name is a nod to the very low tides that expose hidden gems of the sea like abalone and to evoke the feeling of the Mendocino Coast.

Jeffrey’s day job is winemaker at Woods Beer and Wine Co. in San Francisco. He studied at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor of science degree in wine and viticulture and a minor in agribusiness. Jonas’ day job is assistant winemaker at Toulouse Vineyards in Philo. He also studied at Cal Poly and graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in fruit science, with a concentration in viticulture.

The duo met in college and in 2010 made their first wine together — a Paso Robles syrah — as a home winemaking project.

“We have since traveled the world making wine in New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, and throughout California,” Jeffrey said. “The saying that ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ feels so true to us. While we each bring our own individual winemaking experiences to Minus Tide, our collaborative approach to winemaking has made us both better winemakers, and it also has been incredibly fun.”
—Peg Melnik, June 2021
A Winery to Watch: Three friends and their Minus Tide Wines
It’s nice when a plan comes together. 
The troika of partners at Minus Tide Wines of Mendocino County are enjoying the kind of “overnight” success that only comes after years of preparation, perspiration and planning. 
It was the mid-2000s when three budding California wine entrepreneurs — Kyle Jeffrey from So Cal, Miriam Pitt of Palo Alto and Brad Jonas from the Mendocino Coast — experienced the serendipitous magic of chance meetings on the campus at Cal Poly University in San Louis Obispo (SLO). 
“I think I just found out while we were standing in line on, like our first day at school, that he was also into wakeboarding,” Kyle laughs now about meeting Brad. 
Soon enough, the pair – who had both arrived to study in the school’s highly acclaimed, hands-on enology program — discovered they had much more in common than just wakeboarding. “We had similar palates and preferences,” Brad said. “And from a philosophical standpoint we knew that we wanted to make site-specific, vineyard driven wines with a minimalist approach.” Sharing their love of wine, Miriam took a different path studying wine tourism and marketing. But when the three got together back in those days at SLO, the synergy of interests, ambitions and talents led them to dream about one day making wine together. 
Cut to 2020 and Kyle, Brad and Miriam (now married to Brad) are preparing to produce their fourth vintage of Minus Tide Wines after receiving rave reviews for many of their first releases, especially their Old Vine Carignan Rosé. And they have done all this as a “second job,” as all three hold full-time positions helping others produce and sell their wines. 
In her role as an account executive at J.A.M. PR, Miriam has had a hand in public relations for a number of the most lauded brands in wine, including Duckhorn, Spottswoode, Sea Smoke and Chappellet, among others. Skills perfected there have helped her present and promote the Minus Tide wines professionally to many of the world’s top wine journalists. 
Kyle and Brad worked harvests over the past decade in far-flung wine destinations. These include the biodynamic vineyards of Henri Cruchon in Lausanne, Switzerland, the cool climate pinot fields of Central Otago in New Zealand and the syrah/shiraz hotspot of Australia’s McLaren Vale. Now Kyle is the winemaker for Woods Beer and Wine Co. on Treasure Island in San Francisco, while Brad serves daily as assistant winemaker at pinot noir specialist Toulouse Vineyards in Philo in the heart of the Anderson Valley. That is where Minus Tide produces their wines. “Vern Boltz (Toulouse owner and winemaker) gave us his blessing to make our wines in his facility, otherwise we couldn’t have done this (project),” Brad said. 
The global experience has brought the trio to the sweet spot of Mendocino, where the focus is on the production of the non-interventionist processes that are the hallmark of the Minus Tide wines. Site-specificity, as the original philosophy dictated, shows itself in the cool climate style Minus Tide Syrah from the Valenti Vineyard, which sits high in the coastal mountains just a few miles from the Pacific in the Mendocino Ridge appellation. This wine has notes reminiscent of a peppery Côte-Rôtie made from the same variety in the Northern Rhone region of France. 
Then there is the Minus Tide 100% Carignan sourced from ancient vines at the Feliz Creek vineyard near Hopland, California. Not a variety you’ll find much of in the new world, Brad raves about the vines from which they hail. “These are enormous, gnarly vines, many up to 80 years old.” The wine is fermented in a closed-top, egg-shaped fermenter and is presented un-fined and unfiltered. A wine that proves everything old is new again. I recently put a chill on a bottle and sipped it with some deeply smoky pork ribs and loved it. 
Oh, and about the name: Brad grew up along the Mendocino Coast. “We were looking for something that evoked the feel of the ocean, and a minus tide is when you can really see what is going on along the coast,” he explained. The logo features an abalone shell on a vineyard post and sets a tone so strong one feels the salt of the sea. 
Still, I can’t help but think the tide is rising for these three college friends. 
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Carignan Rosé
There are many rosé wines out there. But single variety, single vineyard wines from California? Well, that reduces the number by a lot. The grapes for this wine were sourced from a block of 112-year-old, dry farmed head trained vines in the Feliz Creek Vineyard. Pale in color, but balanced with lively acidity, the wine is a perfect complement for a “plateau de fruits de mer,” or perhaps with some abalone, if you could find it.
—Kelly Hayes, July 2020

It’s so exciting to discover new producers making serious, kindly priced wines anywhere, but especially in California where they have been relatively rare.

Funnily enough I have recently come across two – with spookily similar names. How weird is that? One is Minus Tide, producers of a series of exciting Mendocino wines grown close to the Pacific coast and named after a particularly low tide there that is great for gathering seafood, I’m told. I’ll be writing about these wines and the trio behind it in a big survey of new-wave California wines I’m planning.
—Jancis Robinson, May 2020

The warm and inviting wine bar is alive at Habibi, a Russian Hill pop-up
The three owners and sole employees are Essam Kardosh, Andrew Nelson and Bahman Safari, longtime friends who had been talking for over a year about opening something together. They envisioned a storefront in North Beach, something modeled on “the wine bars of Spain and the Parisian nouveau bistros,” says Kardosh — a hybrid bar-retail model with casual service and cozy environs.

“I’ve stepped away from the zealoted, zero-zero natural wine conversation,” says Kardosh, who oversaw a radically natural wine list when he was the general manager of Del Popolo. “Ultimately, for us it comes down to farming and what kind of energy the people are trying to put into the bottle.”

That might include, as it did for me on a recent evening, a bottle of the peppery, animalistic Minus Tide Syrah from the Valenti Vineyard in Mendocino Ridge.
—Esther Mobley, October 2020

Minus Tide is a relatively new wine brand started by three friends focused on wines made on the chilly coast of Mendocino, and they sent along a couple of their newest wines, both of which are admirable. Their Chenin Blanc is snappy and light on its feet, while their Carignan is positively mouthwatering.
2019 Minus Tide Buddha's Dharma Vineyard Mendocino Chenin Blanc - Around 9 Points
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemons and poached pear with a hint of white flowers. In the mouth, wonderfully bright lemon and pear flavors have a hint of grapefruit as fantastic acidity keeps the mouth watering. Nice and zesty, with hints of citrus peel in the finish. 
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan - Around 9 Points
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of blackberry, black cherry, and cola. In the mouth, boysenberry and cola flavors have a wonderfully bright sour cherry juiciness that makes the mouth water (think Purple SweetTart) thanks to fantastic acidity. Delicious, with faint tannins that ghost around the edges of the palate. 

—Alder Yarrow, June 2021

2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan - 4 Stars
A well-suited carignan to couple with a puck of beef. It’s juicy, with crisp acidity and high-toned red fruit. It has a supple texture and a lingering finish. Just lovely.
—Peg Melnik, June 2021

There are many thrilling wine regions I have had the pleasure of visiting around the world but surprisingly one of the most memorable was right here in my American backyard: Mendocino, California. I remember going there to visit a producer on a rainy, cool day with the fog rolling into the vineyards that were surrounded by old redwood trees. It seemed like a mystical place that had a multitude of passionate producers making small batch wines from a varying range of grape varieties. There was something so magical about Mendocino and so when I had a chance to try these @minustidewines wines from three co-owners, two who are married, who met at California Polytechnic and were able to realize their dream by working with small, family-owned, sustainable farmed vineyards - almost all organic and dry farmed - to make wines that showcased the magic of Mendocino I jumped at the chance.

Minus Tide uses native yeasts, mostly neutral oak with a love for acidity and modest alcohol levels in their wines.
2019 Minus Tide Buddha's Dharma Vineyard Mendocino Chenin Blanc
100% from the 76 year old Chenin Blanc vines in the Buddha's Dharma Vineyard. Tasting this wine reminded me of the rain dance we did to celebrate the much needed rain on that day I visited Mendocino vineyards. Lanolin, quince paste, lemon blossoms and wet stones danced in my head with a saline minerality and mouth-watering green apples on the palate with a bright, elegant finish.

2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan
100% head-trained, dry farmed Carignan that was planted in 1908 in Feliz Creek Vineyard. Jumps out of the glass with multifaceted fruit that is richly wild with black raspberry and red currants dominating the palate with layers of broken-earth and lilacs along the well-integrated round tannins.
—Cathrine Todd (of Forbes), June 2021

Wine of the Week
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir

You may not know it but before Pasadena was known for orange groves, there were acres of vines and a handful of wineries in the region. This Minus Tide (so named since low tides “expose the hidden gems of the sea”) Pinot Noir hits subtle notes – darker, richer red and black fruits like red raspberry, blackberry, black cherry, rhubarb, light cranberry and an earthy kind of quality. It also has an acidity that cries out for food. Rather using commercial yeast, Minus Tide uses native yeast for fermentation, that which occurs naturally in the vineyard.

The wine was then aged in used oak barrels for a mere 14 months, so you don’t get a heavy oak influence, drowning out the lovely fruit. For the wine geeks out there, they used clone 115. For the rest of us, it’s simply a fantastic addition to the wine scene and showcases the typical flavors you often see in Mendocino Pinot Noir.

But how about food? According to co-owner Miriam Pitt, she suggests mushroom risotto, roast duck breast with fig reduction sauce, or grilled salmon with teriyaki glaze. “Pinot Noir and salmon is a classic pairing for good reason,” she tells PasadenaNow. “The juiciness, lively acidity, and savory fruit elements of the wine are a great match for the umami flavors of the fish.” And with the duck and the risotto, both are complemented by the “earthy flavors of the Pinot Noir.” Minus Tide is on the plus side.
—Michael Cervin, September 2020

This week included a couple of pretty rosés from Oregon and California. The second, from relative newcomer Minus Tide Wines in Mendocino, is a really lovely rendition of Carignan in pink form that is just mouthwatering and just what you want to be drinking on a warm afternoon.

Minus Tide also offered a Pinot this week from Mendocino Ridge, overlooking the Pacific Ocean... it did some some very nice qualities, chief among which was a nice forest-floor quality.
2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé - Around 9 Points
A pale salmon pink in the glass, this wine smells of citrus peel and watermelon rind. In the mouth, watermelon rind, green strawberries, and citrus peel have a zippy, bouncy brightness thanks to fantastic acidity. Lean, bright, with a pink SweetTart finish that is mouthwatering.
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Pinot Noir - Between 8.5 and 9 Points
Light to medium ruby in the glass with purple highlights, this wine smells of green willow bark, forest floor, and raspberries. In the mouth, notes of red apple skin, raspberry, and dried cherry have a very nice brightness to them thanks to excellent acidity. The wine has a feeling of having been well oxygenated, which makes it taste more evolved than I would expect at this young age, but all the flavors are good.
—Alder Yarrow May 2020

2019 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé - 92 Points
Vintage number two for this great Rosé - one you won't want to delay in ordering. Intentional Rosé from start to finish, it's an elegant expression of what's usually thought of as a rustic variety. Crisp nectarine, subtle strawberry and soft citrus ride a stony mineral core through a long finish where the red fruit gets a little push. A favorite new producer! 
—Rich Cook, June 2020

California Wines Export 2020
Jancis Robinson, MW, with wine writer and educator, Elaine Chukan Brown, discuss their insights into the role and potential of California wine globally. Jancis recommends Minus Tide!
—Jancis Robinson, February 2020
View Clip

—Meridith May, August 2019
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay - 91 Points: Excellent; highly recommended
Ripe fruit aromas and enticing pastry-shop accents bring a lot of enjoyment to this medium-bodied, fresh and minimally oaky wine. Crisp apple and poached pear mingle with vanilla, nutmeg and ginger on the palate while crisp natural acidity keeps it in balance.
—Jim Gordon, December 2019

Kelly Clarkson and cheese expert Liz Thorpe featured the 2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay on The Kelly Clarkson Show!

"This is a good wine!"

—Kelly Clarkson, October 2019
View Clip

The Anderson Valley Winter White Wine Festival full of delights
Here are the producers that made the biggest impressions over the weekend, all for different reasons.
Minus Tide
This young brand is a partnership between three, 30-something wine industry pros who met at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and still have their day jobs, but it’s obvious their line-up of uber-coastal Mendocino County wines are getting a lot of attention from their peers. They don’t have a tasting room, but after sampling a bit at the Grand Tasting, I was able to do a deep dive into their lineup on Sunday at Disco Ranch, a great little wine shop and market in Boonville, along with their friendly husky named Joe. Outside of the standard Mendocino Pinot Noir and Chardonnay they also make a Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Carignan, and Syrah. All of the wines were elegant and balanced with a focus on high acidity and lower alcohol.

As a bonus, their most expensive bottle is $42. The Feliz Creek Vineyard Carignan Rosé, produced from head-trained, dry-farmed vines planted back in 1908, was my first official Rosé purchase of 2020 and I picked up a bottle of the Valenti Vineyard Syrah too. I’ve been on a cool-climate Syrah kick lately and this particular vineyard site sits just six miles from the coast.
—Jess Lander, March 2020

Mendocino Ridge is known as “Islands in the Sky” because it applies exclusively to land above 1,200ft — hills that are generally above the fog line but fully exposed to marine onslaughts. At 2,600ft, the Mariah Vineyard is the second highest in Mendocino County, yet it’s a stone’s throw from the ocean. 

A newish part-time operation Minus Tide has made some particularly promising wines from this and other Mendocino Ridge vineyards
—Jancis Robinson, March 2020

About 260 wine industry members gathered Tuesday in Napa for “Export 2020: California Wine Global Export Conference,” a program to spur California wine exports.

Among the speakers Tuesday was British wine critic and educator Jancis Robinson, a columnist for the Financial Times. She spoke to wine writer and educator Elaine Chukan Brown, a contributor to Robinson’s wine blog,

Among the current favorite affordable American wines, Robinson mentioned Steve Matthiasson’s Tendu, which will appeal to younger consumers, Minus Tide and Calder Wine Co.
—Kerana Todorov, February 2020

2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay - 94 Points
One of the reasons that you’ve taken this moment to visit us here at Wine Review Online is no doubt to find something new -- it’s certainly one of the things that binds us together as wine lovers.

That said, it’s my pleasure to highly recommend a first release wine from Minus Tide, a brand-new player in California’s Mendocino County. This 2017 Chardonnay, sourced from the Mendocino Ridge AVA’s Mariah Vineyard ($36), has been beautifully realized by three friends that met at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (one of California’s “other” wine schools) who are handling nearly every aspect of the winery, from winemaking to sales to label artwork, and they are off to the races with this gorgeously place-specific white wine. 

A little background on sourcing: Mendocino Ridge is the rare AVA that is based on an elevation cut line, sitting above 1200 feet, and it’s the only non-contiguous AVA in the country to date. Picture mountaintop vineyards dotting your view -- basking in the sun above the fog that swaddles the landscape resting below 1200 feet -- and you’ll get a sense of what the AVA is…unique to say the least. 

Now, look up to picture Dan Dooling’s Mariah Vineyard at 2600 feet -- more than double the AVA’s cut line elevation -- with a view of the Pacific, and you’ll get a fuller picture of how this wine comes together.

And come together it does, with elegant aromatics include pear, peach, apple, stony minerality and a dash of ocean spray. These all translate in linear fashion on the palate, with a solid core of acidity driving the wine’s intensity and integration of flavors through a long finish. Neutral oak adds a lovely textural component without interfering with the tension and purity of the fruit mix. I could drink this all day long and never tire of it, and I’m excited to taste the rest of the lineup from this venture. Look for more reviews soon. 

I love discovering something new in wine -- it’s like looking down and spotting a shell or a stone that you’ve never seen before while strolling the beach during a minus tide….

—Rich Cook, August 2019

This week also saw the appearance of a bunch of wines from a brand new producer named Minus Tide. Started by three friends -- Kyle Jeffrey, Brad Jonas, and Miriam Pitt -- this is a small estate-less winery making cool climate wines in small quantities. Miriam Pitt works in the wine PR business, and is responsible for sending me a bunch of the wines that you see reviewed here on Vinography, so it was quite charming to get some wines that she had a hand in making. They're all tasty. I particularly like the Carignan in both its rosé form and its full red incarnation (which benefits from some air before drinking).
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé - Around 9 Points
A pale coppery salmon color in the glass, this wine smells of strawberries and raspberries. In the mouth, beautifully silky flavors of green strawberry, raspberry and watermelon have a citrusy acidity that makes the mouth water. Fantastic and bright, and utterly delicious with hints of watermelon rind lingering in the finish along with a faint sweetness. Happiness Creek, indeed.
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay - Between 8.5 and 9 Points
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of freshly cut apples and white flowers. In the mouth, flavors of lemon curd, Fuji apples and white flowers have a brisk brightness to them thanks to very good acidity. Crisp and fruity, with a hint of butterscotch emerging on the finish.
2017 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan - Between 8.5 and 9 Points
Medium garnet in color, this wine smells of distinctly sweet boysenberry fruit. In the mouth, intense boysenberry flavors have a faint tannic texture to them and a nice acidity that keeps the mouth watering as the lush fruit flavors move across the palate. Juicy and fruity, but perhaps lacking some complexity. This is fairly well made up for with charm, however.
2015 Minus Tide Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino Malbec - Between 8.5 and 9 Points
Very dark garnet in color, this wine smells of black cherry and cola. In the mouth, rich, ripe black cherry fruit is intense, with juicy acidity that makes for a mouthwatering package. Hints of espresso back up the black cherry and blueberry fruit. 
—Alder Yarrow, July 2019

The 13 Best Rosés to Sip This Summer
These rosés take pink to a new level.
...we’ve added a few more of our new favorites—all offering the nuance of variety and place that make them serious wines. 
2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
A first release from a new team in Mendocino this pale pink opens with a fresh-ocean-breeze salinity mixed with wild strawberry, spice, and honeysuckle. It’s perfectly balanced between juicy fruit and dryness, with a satisfyingly savory finish.
—Sara Schneider, July 2019


2017 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan - 93 Points
Heads up Ms. Butler and Ms. Shelton – there’s a worthy new player in the Carignan arena, and with a unique angle to boot. Winemakers Brad Jonas and Kyle Jeffrey bring us a Beaujolais styled expression of fruit from Wendy Fetzer’s dry farmed head trained vines in Hopland that were originally planted in 1908. Carbonic maceration on native yeast and ten months in neutral oak results in a dry, bright wine that sings with ripe strawberry, cherry, bay leaf, pepper and gentle oak spice, finishing tart and fresh. There’s real versatility in the variety, and this is a welcome take.
—Rich Cook, November 2019 


Minus Tide
Longtime senior account executive at J.A.M. PR, Miriam Pitt, released her debut Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in 2019 from the 2017 vintages. She co-founded the winery with her fiance, Brad Jonas (assistant winemaker at Toulouse Vineyards) and their best friend, Kyle Jeffrey (winemaker at Campovida in Hopland). The winery's focus is on cool-climate wines from small, family-owned and sustainably farmed vineyards in Mendocino County. Many of the vineyards are dry farmed and organic.
2017 Minus Tide Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay - 93 Points: Outstanding
Whole cluster pressed. Native yeast barrel fermentation in neutral French oak puncheons for 13 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Alluring scent of apple pastry, lemon butter, pineapple and flint. Bright and lively in the mouth, blessed with sound acidity and showing no distracting oak overlay. Flavors of lemon-lime, green apple, pear, a hint of pineapple and a saline note are immensely satisfying. The finish is clean and refreshing. The winemakers have done a commendable job of balancing acidic verve with enough fruit richness.
—Rusty Gaffney, June 2019


2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé
This gorgeous, tension-filled wine proves that a cold night is a perfect night for a great bottle of rosé: The @minustidewines Carignan Rosé 2018 bursts from the glass with wild strawberries, field flowers, sun-warmed hay, oyster shells, orange blossom, and honeysuckle, ending on an almost salty finish that made it absolutely sing alongside homemade tacos, cumin-scented beans, and enough guacamole to drown in, happily.
—Brian Freedman (of Forbes and Food & Wine), January 2020



2018 Minus Tide Feliz Creek Vineyard Mendocino Carignan Rosé - 92 Points
New player Minus Tide is off to a great start -- this second introduction features ripe white peach aromas offset by light floral notes. The palate is steely dry, with touches of sea spray and herbs dancing with citrus, tart peach and strawberry around a pole of stony minerality. Light and refreshing, yet with some depth and character. Salute!
—Rich Cook, August 2019