Bonné on Grenache

Kudos going out to Kenny Likitprakong, Chris Brockway and our own Ian Brand!

I’ve tasted Ian’s La Marea Spur Ranch San Benito County Grenache, and it deserves the accolades.

I wish Jon had included Will Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch Grenache in the tasting.

As a confirmed Rhoneofile , I have had a love affiair with Grenache for years.

My best domestics have been from Steve Beckmen. I have yet to try my Bedrock Grenache Gris or Rudius but will wait a few years.

Well, Steve…if you’ve fallen in love w/ the siren song of Grenache, then the Bedrock GrenacheGris may not float your boat.
It doesn’t really have much resemblance (that I can tell) to the much more common Grenache (Noir)…nor even GrenacheBlanc.
That said…those are very/very old vine GrenacheGris vines and the examples I’ve had from Donkey&Goat have been
very fascinating. I’ve not had the Bedrock yet…but there are rumors out on the InterNet that that Morgan guy knows
a thing or two about making wine…so I suspect you’ll probably like it.

I’ll have to try more of these. I’ve had the Birichino twice now and while it is what he says, honestly it would be much better if the fruit were riper.

I love that Grenache is getting more attention these days as a stand-alone variety. It is my favorite red variety to work with because of it’s complexity of aromas and flavors. It is a tricky variety to work with, as it really does need to hang out there for a while for the skins, which are thicker and more bitter and tannic than almost any other variety I have worked with, to soften.

Jon’s piece was a nice one, but far from comprehensive. He will only review and discuss wines that are readily available in the Bay Area, so if it turns out that yours are not, it’s not even worth submitting them - and I get it.

Yep, the folks at Beckmen have been making great grenaches for quite some time - and, most importantly, grenaches that smell and taste like, well, GRENACHE! That’s important to me, for I’m not a big fan of ‘superlative’ examples of a variety being put up on a pedestal that really don’t bare much resemblance to that variety. In addition to Beckmen, you should look for the Grenaches made at Kaeana (Mikael is also the Beckmen winemaker), Qupe, Jaffurs and a few others in our area.

If you dig the variety, you could attend the upcoming Rhone Rangers even in the Bay Area the first weekend in April, where Grenache will be one of the seminar topics and 8 of them will be poured and discussed - including mine and Qupes.


It’s always an honor to be included in one of Jon’s pieces. I’m a big fan of his work.

Grenache is really successful in many parts of the central coast, in many ways it should be California’s staple red grape. The Spur Ranch is a super interesting white clay and limestone site way back in the Gabilan Mountains. We also make a Mourvèdre from there. The vineyard can look a little ratty, but appearances aren’t everything.

The Birichino Besson is also made at our facility in Salinas. Alex and John have a very specific idea of the wine they’re after, and a lot has to do with pursuing tension and vivacity. They also don’t inoculate and avoid additions as much as sensible. I have a 12 Besson coming out in a few months that has a higher percentage of whole cluster, but also a bit more ripeness (just a touch) and some French oak. It’s an interesting comparison of technique.

He mentions the David Girard Grenache - an El Dorado winery. I had the 2010 off the list at Taste a couple weeks ago and it was absolutely phenomenal. Bonné’s description of the 2012 is spot on with the bottle we had. They’re on my short list next time I’m up in the foothills.

Pax’s Wind Gap Sceales being left off this list puzzles me. That is a helluva wine and I think it should have merited more than just parentheses.

I agree Frank - the WG Sceales was outstanding.

I’m looking forward to sampling Ian’s '12 Besson.

Frank, Bonné did mention the Wind Gap in last March’s Grenache article:

Maybe he’s keeping it to current releases?

Jon calls out for specific vintages and perhaps the Wind Gap wasn’t ready for prime time - or perhaps he was looking for producers who have not been spotlighted before?!?!?

I considered this but the Girard is highlighted in both articles. I think it’s simply that the 2012 WG Sceales isn’t released yet.