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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Grenache Tasting

On 9/21/2012 the Wineyard in Santa Rosa celebrated Grenache Day with a tasting of 15 white, red, and Grenache blends. Grenache is a Rhone varietal you maybe haven't heard much of or heard of at all. It's from the same area of France as Syrah and is often blended with Syrah and other Rhones.

I've listed the wines from my favorites to least in each category, but there were no dogs in the bunch. All were at least “good” wines and very drinkable, but we all have our preferences, right?

Grenache Blanc

White Grenache is often grown in hot climates and makes a white zinfandel sort of wine. These three below are all made in a dry, higher quality style. This was my first time having a white Grenache and I have to say they weren't all that exciting.

Two Shepherds 2011 Saarloos Vyd, Santa Ynez $24. Good acid and spices. Maybe a little hot (alcohol showing).

Sheldon 2011 Vinolocity Sonoma Coast $25. Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne. Lacks fruit but a distinctive “something” I can't just put my hand on (like I said, these wines are new to me).

Stark 2011 Saarloos Vyd, Santa Ynez $28. More of whatever that is I'm picking up in Sheldon's.

Grenache Noir

Red Grenache by itself can be a little bland so most of these had something else blended in such as Petite Sirah or Syrah.

Mathis 2008 Sonoma Valley $30. Well balanced between the bright fruits, acid and spiciness.

Mounts Family 2009 Estate, Dry Creek $30. Earthy, spicy.

Sheldon 2008 Vinolocity, Santa Ynez Vly $36. A nice wine. The bad news: There is no more of this Santa Ynez Vly fruit for Sheldon after this '08.

Ridge 2006 Lytton Estate, Dry Creek $28. Drying tannins followed by spice. You can really pick out that 10% Petite Sirah.

Sheldon 2011 Ceja Vyd, Sonoma Valley $40. Too soft, too light, or is it just delicate? Maybe I should have had this one first before the ones with Petite Sirah blended in. 12.8% alcohol.

Quivara 2009 Dry Creek $26. Lighter, not much body, a sipper.

Grenache Blends

These red blends are really what Grenache is best at. All Rhone varietals, including Syrah, are better in blends IMO.

Hahn 2011 Monterey GSM $32. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. My top wine of the night.

Ridge 2008 Syrah/Grenache Dry Creek $32. Syrah, Grenache. A big boy, but a nice one. Give it some time.

Hahn 2011 Central Coast GSM $14. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. Nice fruit, soft, balanced. Great for the price.

Quivara 2010 Elusive Dry Creek $32. A blast of pepper overwhelms anything else.

Donelan 2010 Cuvee Moriah Sonoma County $40. Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah. Tight, tannic, not ready, but has promise.

Two Shepherds 2010 GSM Russian River, Livermore $32. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre. Flat. May have been slightly corked. The table was too busy to get back to William and ask him if this wine was okay.


Most of these wines were produced in the hundreds of cases only so the way to find them is probably direct from the winery. The $14 Hahn blend had 18,000 cases made so if you're looking for a bargain you may actually be able to find that one around. Of course, the best way is to come and visit and try them for yourself!

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