Last night I had a few friends over to explore the wide world of Grenache. While I like Grenache, it isn’t a grape that I focus on in my drinking and collecting, so this was a good time to try a wide range of them.
Everyone brought a bottle (or 2) and we tasted them blind to try to guess country of origin.
But first we started with a little white wine as people were showing up.
Mas D’en Compte Priorat Blanc 2006 - It is 50% Grenache Blanc, Picapoll Blanco 20%, Pansa (/Xarel-lo) 15% Macabeo 15%. It is a golden yellow color with a saline nose with oak, hay, lemons, and a touch oxidized. It has a creamy mouthfeel with a nice leesy bitterness. Long finish of tangerine, smoke, and some tannin. Pretty tasty, but a touch too much oak. People were divided on this one.
On to some reds!
Unfortunately as we were popping corks, it was determined that the 2005 Turley “Pesenti” Grenache was corked! REALLY bad, I would have loved to try this since I didn’t know Turley made a grenache.
Clos De L’Hermitage Cotes du rhone 2007 - We were all thinking Cali or Aussie on this one. Deep purple color, smoke, green pepper, plum, blackberry, blueberry on the nose. Great fruit! Touch of alcohol heat on the palate with pipe tobacco, black cherry, and cranberry notes. Very fine tannin. Really tasty wine that got better and more CdR-esque with air. This is a good buy for about $25 retail.
The Old Faithfull “Sandhill” Grenache 2006 - More ruby in color than the CdR with tobacco and cranberry on the nose. It had some candied cherry up front on the palate and then notes of orange peel on the spicy and floral finish. Pretty damn tasty!
Tre Anelli Santa Barbara Grenache 2007 - Light ruby, almost see through in color but not as light as the color would have suggested. Here we thought traditional CdP. Dirty, earthy nose with raspberry and lots of structure. Big tannin on the finish with some mineral. It was cool how light on its feet it was but still had intensity. this was a very cool find!
Montirius Gigonas “Terre des aines” 2005 - Deep purple with ruby rim, raspberry and herbs on the nose with drying tannins like a tea leaf. It added some chocolate notes later in the evening. Tasty and most guessed French.
Solitary Block Grenache 2005 - I thought I would bring an Aussie grenache since noone would expect such a thing from me. I had never had this wine before. Purple color again with olive, licorice, and candied cherry on the nose. Very Aussie and most people guessed it. The fruit from this comes from Greenock Creek. Raspberries and a touch of alcohol on the palate it was rich but light. Also a touch buttery. Good, but probably not worth the money. Cool bottle though!
St. Cosme Little James Basket Press - Disclaimer, my store carries this. Though after this tasting I might have to reconsider it! and I am a St. Cosme whore! It had a smoky and floral nose with black cherry fruit and hints of orange peel. On the palate though it was dilute, watery even. An ok finish saves it, but the palate was just lame last night. I have had previous bottlings of this that I enjoyed. Not sure if this is a bad release or what. Pretty bummed!
Mosca Cannonau di Sardinia 2005 - Light ruby color with raspberry, earth on the nose. Higher acidity with elegant raspberry fruit. Pretty tannic and very good. We were thinking traditional CdP again. I think my girlfried said this was $15. So that makes it quite a value.
Then we had to have a Banyuls to wash this all down.
Domaine la Tour Vielle 2006 Banyuls - A Kermit Lynch wine I believe. Chocolate, coffee, and plums on the nose with rich blackberry fruit on the palate. It was medium weight with a spicy finish. Pretty good.
Then my friend Greg showed up with another Grenache.
Kurtz Family Boundary Row Grenache 2001 - Dark purple, sweet nose with plums, blackberry, and some black pepper spice. It was nice and ripe, tasted not blind but it was definitely Aussie. Pretty tasty, but didn’t stand out.
At this point we were talking about all kinds of stuff and my recent trip to the Finger Lakes in NY came up. I was touting the Cab Franc from anthony Road. My friend said that their Cab Francs weren’t very good. I told him that I had one that would change his mind. So a little bet was set for a nice bottle of wine and POP…the cork came out so that i could make him eat crow!
Anthony Road Martini-Reinhardt Cab franc 2007 Finger Lakes - Pours very dark purple, looks like Napa. Tobacco filled nose with a rich cherry and raspberry note. It is full-bodied with great ripeness and fruit extraction. VERY well balanced with refreshing acidity and moderate tannin. Damn tasty and at $30 it is well worth it. Shows up most Napa Cab Francs I have had. Needless to say, i won the et!
Then judgement got the worst of me and I opened up something that had been in my cellar for about 4 years…
Denali Winery Alaskan Cabernet (N/V I think) - I couldn’t take very good notes at this point, but it did have bright fruit and was pretty well made. tatsted like a low end Cali cab. Not sure where they get the fruit from, the bottle and website have no info. Anyway this was suprisingly drinkable.
and because i am a glutten for punishment…
Churchill 10 Yr tawny - this was bottled in 2001, my friend brought it back for me from denmark sometime around 2003 maybe. not sure why i never opened it, so last night it finally happened. it had cherry fruit and was showing its alcohol. Not bad, I’ll continue to drink this over the next while.
Anyway, 1am happened and it was time for clean up and sleep. A good time was had by all. I was suprised that noone brought a Spanish Grenache. Also, we did pretty well guessing country, but some were rather difficult.