central coast grenache

grenache is a hardy grape. it is the second most planted grape in the world and first in spain. it loves the dry california heat, especially in the central coast.  the variety of temperatures and soils offers grenaches that can be light and fruity and also some that will knock your socks off bold, rich wines.  last weekend i had the pleasure of pouring at a Santa Cruz Mountains winery, Soquel Vineyards, and i met a couple who made their own wine and like me loved grenache.  i have dedicated this post to them, the goodmans, and anyone else who is constantly searching for excellent grenaches while on the central coast.

my list in no particular order:

1. anglim winery. paso robles. 2006 grenache. 79% grenache, 14% syrah, 7% counoise.

rich red fruits, raspberry and cherries, spicy finish. a true paso robles blend wine, fruit sourced from both the west and the east side. each variety fermented separately, aged in 20% new french oak and blended together. unfined and unfiltered.

2. minassian-young winery. paso robles. 2006 grenache. %100 grenache.

strawberry, cherries and pepper, specifically white pepper, citrus. winemaker david young has a passion for winemaking that can be tasted in each of his wines.  i also love his mourvedre and zinfandel. he specializes in a terrior specific winemaking style allowing for the only differences to be found in factors which he cannot control.

3. villa creek. paso robles. 2006 garnacha. %100 grenache.

black cherry and raspberry nose followed by a medium to full bodied fruit and liquer mouth. it is soft and has a finish that suggests the wines longevity by its tightness. ruby red in color. villa creek offers big wines with lots of flavor. they know how to make a true GSM blends, rich fruit and oak. a MUST stop if ever on the west side of paso.

4. barrel 27. paso robles. 2007 “Rock and a Hard Place” grenache.

bright red fruit nose. ripe with smooth tannins and acid.  raspberry, strawberry and spice with a lingering vanilla finish.  juicy midpalate and complex finish of fruit and spice. chocolate and floral perfumes lingering on the nose. winemakers mac and russell both love making big wines but this one is different, its soft and rich. made to spotlight the wonderful grenache grape and the french winemaking Chateauneuf du Pape.

5. j.lohr. paso robles. 2007 gesture GSM.

i myself am slightly biased to this wine because i took part in making it.  i remember all of the sweat that went into making this wine.  one third of the grenache was whole cluster barrel fermented, as mentioned in a previous post, in new oak barrels which allowed for more spice and vanilla flavors. the barrels went through malolactic fermentaion.  the rest of the fruit was cold soaked then fermented in open top tanks with gentle punchdowns daily. the 2007 vintage was one which lacked rainfall so the berries had more intense fruit flavors. fresh wild berries, body and dark fruit flavors from the syrah and volume with pepper from the mourvedre.  proves to be a good wine to lay down with its phenolic structure.

6. tablas creek. paso robles. 2007 grenache.

blueberry, wild berries, minerals and herbs. full bodied, dense and juicy.  deep bright red in color, extremely aromatic nose of  incense, lavender and spice. deep and lush with hints of boysenberry pie. a long finish. not my favorite winery, but i do like this wine.

7. terry hoage vineyards. paso robles. 2007 “skins” grenache. %90 grenache. %10 syrah.

complex, rich, beautiful balance of dark berries which was built around plums. velvety with hints of vanilla and intense spice. very fruit forward like most of terry hoages wines.  the wines are all rhone blends made on the west side of paso robles. concentrated with lots of fruit yet not heavy as one might expect.

8. beckman vineyards. santa ynez valley. 2006 estate grenache.

barrel aged in neutral barrels to ensure true varietal characteristics this wine is explosive. lots of red fruits on the nose, strawberry, watermelon and raspberry. the palate has more strawberries but also a never before tasted cotton candy like taste followed by vanilla and minerals.  a high alcohol wine that slightly shows on the palate, can be confused for a slight residual sugar. the largest grenache on the list with a finish that will last for days.

9. there is one more wine that i would like to mention yet i have never tasted it, only heard of its profound nobility. alban vineyards. edna valley. estate grenache. john alban is a man whose winemaking is among the best in the world but to taste his wine you must also be a ranking member of society.  his wines range anywhere from $130-350 at restaurants and cannot be found in a tasting room.  robert parker writes this about his grenache and ranking in winemaking:

“Made from a tiny yielding clone, it is a textbook Grenache that ranks alongside Sine Qua Non’s Grenache as the two finest made in California. A dense purple hue is accompanied by a glorious nose of kirsch liqueur interwoven with licorice, forest floor, pepper, and spice. It possesses outstanding stuffing, a tremendous, full-bodied mouthfeel, and moderate tannin. Give it 2-3 years of cellaring and enjoy it over the following 12-15 years. The wines of John and Lorraine Alban are about as spectacular as one can find anywhere in the world. Alban is committed to aging his big Syrahs longer in barrel, believing it will concentrate the wines and add additional complexity.”

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~ by tymaripaige on February 26, 2010.

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