Introducing Grenache

Weatherborne's first slogan was "One man, one wine." Well, that phrase is a bit redundant, as we now have a lovely Grenache to add to our lineup! I've always been intrigued by Grenache's "pinot-ness" as it can be bold, or delicate, dark or light in color. Grenache (noir) is originally known as Garnacha in its native eastern Spain, likely originating in the province of Aragon. It was spread throughout the Mediterranean and is a popular wine in Spain and France, most notably, but common in Corsica and Sardinia too. The regions of Campo de Borja, Carinena and Roussillon use Grenache extensively. In Chateauneuf de Pape, it plays a leading role. 

Grenache has perhaps been maligned as a workhorse wine or "blender," but it can be exceptional in its own right, arguably making the best rose wines in the world, in the Tavel region. Viticulturally it develops a huge trunk and sturdy canopy; it can handle drought well, and survives windy conditions. The wine can be a bit light in color, and they can oxidize easily, thus why it's so often blended with darker colored grapes such as Syrah and Mourvedre. There are currently 5,300 acres grown in California, most of it in the Central Valley, used as a base for jug wines at ridiculously high yields. California's cheaper wines would be much better if more Grenache was planted, replacing the Cabernet and Pinot grown in too hot of a climate. In coastal regions, while a lighter texture may develop, the aromatics benefit from the longer hang-time and slower ripening.

For 2015, we sourced our Grenache from the John Sebastiano vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills (also the main vineyard used in the 2014 Pinot) from blocks just outside of the AVA, hence the Santa Barbara County designation. While this wine is still a baby, and the tannins need some more time to resolve, hopefully it gives a preview of how delicious it will be with some waiting.

Fennel, red currants and rhubarb on the nose. Lithe and delicate in the mouth, there are substantial tannins ready to reward short-term cellaring. 85 cases produced.

92pts / Editor's Choice, Wine Enthusiast

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