Le P’tit Paysan is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Ian and Heather Brand. It is one of three labels under I. Brand & Family Winery (the others being LaMarea and I. Brand & Family). Ian came to the Central Coast of California to surf, got stung by the wine-making bug and has never looked back. Ian is a “dirt geek,” a person who can walk a vineyard that no one wants, test the soil and determine the perfect grape for the site. The grape may not necessarily be considered appropriate for the region but if the dirt says it will grow, Ian listens and the magic happens.
Spend any time in Monterey County tasting wine and you will become keenly aware of Ian’s ability to make great wine. His 2015 Le P’tit Paysan Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect example. Coming in at a mere 13.7% abv, this wine has a fun funky nose, a combo plate of pepperoncini and caper berries mingling with violet, cocoa nibs, smoke and pencil lead. It is only after your
nose passes through these scents that black cherry, black plum and blueberry show up. The palate is similar with the fruit coming forward, playing musical chairs with the savory flavors. The acid and tannins dance together seamlessly resulting in an easy, pleasing palate. Let the wine sit for ten minutes in the glass and everything chills out to become beautiful, subdued versions of themselves. This wine exemplifies sitting at a bistro in France eating cheese and charcuterie while sipping perfectly paired Cabernet Sauvignon. Le P’tit Paysan stands for “a country man or woman; a peasant” and this wine translates the meaning flawlessly with it’s easy drinking style and affordable price ($25).
A winemaker creating low alcohol, old world style wine on the Central Coast is not common and the fact the Ian does it so masterfully speaks to his talent.