Santa Barbara County
Grenache is Great!
Winemakers tend to be crazy about grenache and they can wax poetic about its many virtues endlessly. On the other hand most consumers know very little about the varietal, which is a pity because it is so deserving of a place at the table.
There are a number of reasons why grenache is mostly unknown in California, the primary one being that it’s not widely planted in the state. There was a boom of interest in the 60’s, when sweet grenache rosé was popularized by Gallo, but since then there have been only a few small plantings for quality red wine. Also, grenache isn’t just one clear-cut wine type like cabernet sauvignon—sometimes it’s as strong and powerful as syrah and sometimes it’s as delicate and nuanced as pinot noir—all depending on vineyard, climate and vintage.
One unifying character in a great grenache is its perfume. There is no other red wine other than pinot that can express itself with so much fragrance. Another is its unique tannin and texture; grenache can be so silky and fine.
We are particularly proud of our 2008 Thompson vineyard grenache—it’s redolent with the aroma of raspberries and wild herbs. The varietal personality literally jumps from the glass and the flavors are fresh, lively, and there is that telltale velvetiness on the palate. When this wine was young it had its moments of awkwardness, but now with three years of bottle age it is really showing its stuff: it’s a delicate, perfumed beauty that is delicious to drink today.
Blend: 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre | Vineyard: Thompson | AVA: Santa Barbara County | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 10% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 16 Months | Total Production: 336 Cases
Stephen Tanser’s International Wine Cellar
“Vivid ruby. Slowly opens to displays scents of raspberry, cherry pit, white pepper and candied rose. Sappy and precise, with tightly wound red fruit flavors that pick up weight and sweetness with aeration. Shows very good intensity on the finish, which clings with impressive tenacity. ” – JR 91 Points