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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Grenache

Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle. ~Robert Anthony

And I'm the kind of wine-guy who likes to gargle with Sauvignon Blanc before heading off to a tasting, and no I didn't swallow. But now that you have that amazing image in your brain [you're welcome] it's time to get down and dirty with one of my favorite grapes, Grenache. 

And yes each one of these wines is high-alcohol; like the one pictured above sporting a whopping 15% [oh-my] or very near 15%; so save me the crocodile tears and the fits of anguish over the whole, wines are "getting-to-hot" nonsense. Because each of the following wines I'll be reviewing today, have a balanced approach [although not necessarily tasty], even with the high abv.

Okay, so I received these wines last year as samples [and so did a whole lot of other blobbers] and I'm just now getting around to reviewing them. Each wine has three things in common; all three had Joel Gott as their winemaker, all three are Grenache and all three are from the same vintage, 2010. 

Now that said, in today's review spotlight will be, Shatter, Alakai and The Show. As I said, Grenache is one of my favorite grapes and I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but I do so get over it. Now speaking of favorites, only one of the three wines in today's spotlight actually tripped my trigger, the other two "meh" they were okay. 

1. 2010 Garnacha Calatayud, Spain, "The Show": Typically I'm all over wines like this, their flavor, complexity and down-right feel-good wine drinking is their hallmark. But not so this time, in order to SAVE on costs, the wine was fermented in concrete tanks, while only 20% is aged in oak. 

I thought the wine showed a lot of potential, being from a 40year old vineyard site, but it lacked that umph. My score on this wine is 84 points, this is one "Show" I'd forget about seeing. Price Range: $13 - $20 most places.

2. 2010 Alakai California Red Wine: Again another wine with big potential, a rocking Rhone-Zone blend featuring; 77% Grenache, 17% Syrah, 4% Mo-ved, and a drop of Petite Sirah. This time around, barrel aging was employed, but the grapes grabbed for this mission; could not bring home the cat. I was sadly disappointed in this wines performance. 

I found the wine underwhelming and disjointed. Not sure if it would be worth the wait, but a bit more time bottle could allow flavors to integrate a bit more. It’s not bad, but not stellar enough to make me reach for my wallet either and my score 84 points. Price: $18 

3. 2010 Shatter Grenache, Languedoc-Roussillon, France: This folks is how you do it, and do it right. If you want drink a wine, one which boxes well above its weight class, than this is your ticket to Pay-Per-View wine-stopping excitement.  

This wine is a result of first-time collaboration with Mr. Dave Phinney [of Prisoner fame] and Joel Gott, but it would appear Mr. Phinney's now iconic style took the lead. This is a brilliant wine; produced from a steep hillside vineyard, planted 60 years [black, fractured schist] ago near a small town in Roussillon, in a place called Mauray. So duh, no guessing why this wine is number one, priced higher than the others and two, why it beat the snot out those other two poseurs above.

The wine had me from the word go, soon as I popped the cork on this bad-boy, I knew it was game on. In the glass; this wine is sporting a deep, nearly opaque ruby color, while inviting red-berry aromas easily escape from the glass, inviting the first slurp. From the first pour the last drop, this wine is nothing but Grenache goodness at its best. The soft French oak is nicely woven into the wines vivid dark and red fruit core; you barely even realize it's there. The finish is long, lasting and it drives deep. In a word this wine is seamless. 

Well worth the price of admission at the SRP of $31, but you're in luck if you live in San Diego. Because this 93 point wine is just coming back into stock at one of my favorite retailers Vintage Wines and I just confirmed they do sell this wine for $27 [btw, they can ship if you live out-of-state].

Do want to read the story behind the Shatter Collaboration? If so click here.

Full Disclosure: The wines above as I've stated were sent to me as samples for the review process. And two, I do not work for Vintage Wines in any capacity, but they probably wish I did, ha. Until next time folks remember to sip long and prosper cheers

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