Santa Barbara County

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Grenache, the grape backbone for the wines of southern France, is relatively light colored but particularly flavorful and aromatic, so it is sometimes thought of as the pinot noir of the south. But unlike pinot noir, which is almost always made as a 100% pure varietal, Grenache is best when blended with syrah, Mourvedre and other varieties. Together there is a synergy that makes a most satisfying wine. The better known Rhone varietal, syrah, often makes a heavier, more herbal and animal beverage, but Grenache’s magic is all about raspberry, strawberry and red plum aromatics. When harvested at the right moment Grenache has a freshness that makes it most delicious with hearty foods and also allows it to age gracefully for years.

Young Grenache can be a bit harsh, but as it ages the tannins give the texture a silky finish, and this is what is showing now in this 2007 Grenache from Thompson Vineyard, making it one of our most supple efforts since our first Grenache in 1998.

Poured into a glass this wine has a most striking color: a pure ruby red that is crystalline clear. The mind anticipates something regal from a color so fine, and there is no disappointment. Aromatically, there are whiffs of smoke, strawberry and tart plum, and the flavors are plush and sensuous. When bottled, this wine was a wallflower that few understood, but three years of aging has really enabled this Grenache to blossom! This wine is delicious to drink now and is one of my personal favorites.

Two clones of Grenache were used here, the hearty “California” clone and the perfumed “Alban 2” clone, along with a large dollop of Mourvedre and syrah added for added complexity—all from David Thompson’s fabulous vineyard just outside Los Alamos, California.

Blend: 76% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 14% Mourvèdre  | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 10% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 16 Months | Total Production: 351 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Deep ruby-red. Enticing aromas of raspberry, cherry pie, rose and smoky herbs. Sweet and juicy but tight, with sexy flavors of candied red fruits, spicecake and anise. Finishes with fine-grained tannins and excellent clarity. I really like this wine’s vibrancy and focus.” – JR 91 Points