Kinero Release

I haven’t bought these in a while, but with the inclusion of his new red it was too hard to pass. Tried the 2012 version and was very excited by the wine as it was both elegant and aromatic. A big surprise for a Paso Grenache.

Here is a snippet from the release letter:

"Greetings from Templeton.

I am very excited to release the 2014 Alice, Grenache Blanc and the brand new 2013 Grenache, Bassetti Vineyard.

Yes, after 5 years of crafting only white wines, I produced my first red wine in 2013. I’ve been tempted to make a red wine since the very beginning, but have always hesitated since I knew it had to be something truly unique - enter the Bassetti Vineyard. In 2010, Ellis and Susie Bassetti approached me about re-planting 2.5 acres of Syrah in their Cambria vineyard to a new variety. After batting around a few better ideas, we finally decided to throw caution to the wind and put the heat-loving Grenache in their frigid vineyard. It’s a struggle to get it ripe, yields are miniscule (47 cases this year and less in 2014), but the wine is truly special - I hope you enjoy it."

Grenache, huh? I recall a killer Bassetti Syrah I had from Garretson years back, and I think Denner used to (still does?) source Bassetti Syrah for their “Dirt Worshipper” N. Rhone blend, which I think is pretty good. I’d be curious to find-out what Grenache from that vineyard tastes like. Thanks for the post, Peter.

Brian, I think ESJ used to make wines from this vineyard as well. It’s definitely a very different climate than what you have up the hill in Paso proper.

The Dirt Worshipper is still mostly, if not all, Bassetti fruit I believe. I was actually fortunate enough to taste the 2013 Bassetti Grenache from barrel a while back ago. It was incredibly masculine, deeply pitched and quite taut at that point. Very dense on the palate, good acidity and structure but for whatever reason it reminded me more of Mourvedre than Grenache. I’ll be picking up some in the near future. I think it’s fairly priced too and likely a relative value compared to other wines in the region. Looking forward to trying it again, it’s been at least six months since I’ve had it last.

Just stopped by this past Saturday to visit with Anthony and pick up some of the 2013 Bassetti Grenache. Anthony had the full line-up of Kinero open and I was fortunate to taste through them. The Grenache had just been bottled, but was again quite similar to my barrel sample months ago. Very deeply pitched fruit, reminiscent of black raspberry and a currant like fruit with an overlay of floral character. Again, very good density, texture and length with lovely open aromatics. This honestly, is a perplexing wine for me and if pressed to identify it blind, might look more towards a warm vintage Northern Rhone than anywhere else. Anthony noted that he was still waiting for some of the savory character to come back after the bottling. I’m very interested to see how this evolves after some time in the bottle. Still different than my conventional expectations for Grenache which is neither good or bad, but this particular combination of site, variety and winemaker remains wholly interesting to me and I look forward to trying this wine over multiple vintages.

Without taking anything away from the Grenache, I have to note that the 2013 Roussanne is really quite something. Peaches, apricot, white flowers, honey and a touch of warm spice that was completely full on the palate but not at all fatiguing and is totally contained. There is a level of richness, texture and weight here that is remarkable and it’s not until you’ve revisited it several times in the glass that you notice that it’s really quite deft too with enough acidity and underlying structure to hold it together. This had five days of skin contact, but seems to have captured all the character of the variety without being encumbered by it.

I think it a testament to its character that the following morning I was still thinking about it, reflecting on how I need more white wine in our collection and how several more bottles of this Roussanne would be a good place to start. I think in time this Roussanne could be particularly special and I see no reason why it couldn’t evolve harmoniously for a decade or more. There is so much raw material in the glass with plenty of energy and vivacity that it seems a shame to open a bottle prematurely.

And even more I’m left wondering why we collectively as wine consumers don’t take white wines more seriously. This Roussanne in particular, but this variety as well, is really quite serious and if we are open minded might see it in some cases as superior to the red wines we commonly pay far more for and treat with far more care and attention. Thinking more regionally, as it relates to Paso Robles, I think it a shame that we don’t see more acres of white varieties under vine. There are no doubt a number of sites very well suited for the production of red wines, but so often I taste at some properties and think that some of these vineyards would be far better suited for white wines or more serious Roses. The ability of some of these sites to create white wines (and Roses) of richness and yet profound energy is one of the true blessings of the area. If our wine culture were to be more willing and open to seriously consider white wines we might see far more interesting and quality wines made throughout California rather than see the next bottle of blockbuster Cabernet or Syrah made from every region and vineyard regardless of how well suited it may (not) be.

Taylor, We just drank the '13 Roussanne and it really every bit as good as you describe.