Ever have a wine that leaves you still thinking about it a few days later? That is what I have been doing ever since I uncorked a bottle of Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Noir this past Saturday night. I am a huge Grenache fan and winemaker William Allen’s 2012 Grenache is exactly the type of Grenache I look for. It’s an absolutely beautiful wine!
100% Grenache from Saralee’s Vineyard in the Russian River. 50% whole cluster. Unfined and unfiltered. 13.3% alcohol and a retail price of $38.
Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Noir pours a cranberry color in the glass that seems to sparkle when the light hits it. The wine has a beautiful nose that features aromas of rich, yet delicate red fruit. It is a light-bodied wine with poised structure. There are refined tastes of cherries, cranberries, strawberries, and hints of spice. Elegant with vibrant acidity, this is one of the best domestic Grenaches I have had this year!
Want a rich and delicious Rhone blend to pair with your summer BBQ for under $12? If so, look no farther than Les Terrasses d’Eole 2012 Ventoux. Domaine Terrasses d’Eole is located in the heart of Provence, along the path of the Tour de France. The family run winery produces some excellent values, with Les Terrasses d’Eole Ventoux being one of them.
A blend of Grenache and Syrah from the Ventoux region on Rhone. 14.5% alcohol. Retails for around $11.
Pouring an inky, dark purple in the glass, Les Terrasses d’Eole 2012 Ventoux begins with aromas of dark fruit, violets, and minerals. The palate is rich with indulgent flavors of blackberries, violets, and anise. The palate also offers earthy undertones that balance the ripeness of the fruit. Smooth, fruit-forward, and full of flavor! Pair with roasted duck or grilled beef.
It’s getting warmer every week and that means it’s time to stock up on lighter wines. Last week, I discovered 2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé at Domaine LA and it will likely be taking up several spots in my wine cooler throughout the summer!
A blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache from Languedoc. Organically farmed and fermented in stainless steel. 12% alcohol with a retail price of around $10.
Pouring a pretty coral color in the glass, 2013 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Rosé opens with aromas of red berries and citrus. The palate is light and refreshing with flavors of strawberries, raspberries, and red cherries along with healthy acidity. Bright, crisp, and super food-friendly. I could (and will!) drink this all summer long!
As I am always on the hunt for a new Grenache, I excitedly picked up a bottle of 2011 Les Vigneaux Grenache while I was perusing the aisles of a local wine shop. Les Vigneaux is an organically farmed winery in the French village of Ardèche. Their minimalist wine making philosophies have produced a unique wine that has a really nice sense of place. The 2011 Grenache is made with native yeasts, unfined, unfiltered, and has 13.5% alcohol.
Musty aromas of earth and anise come from the glass. The palate is surprisingly complex for the price. There are notes of licorice, forest floor, red fruit, and plenty of acidity. A really enjoyable Grenache that drinks like it costs far more than $15 a bottle!
My Wine Rating – A-
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with braised lamb, chicken with roasted carrots and potatoes, or grilled duck breast.
Domaine de la Damase Grenache is definitely something fresh and unique for a lot of palates. This 100% Grenache from Southern France is 100% whole cluster aged in concrete tanks. Lighter in color than a lot of traditional Grenache wines on the market but still full of juicy flavors.
The wine is very nicely structured and offers a fresh, lively palate. Flavors of ripe, red berries, violet, and spice are lifted with healthy acidity. The alcohol is a little high at 14.5% but the wine doesn’t taste hot. A great value that is a nice match with grilled meats!
I am a sucker for Rhône wines and came across a great find last week. Domaine Monpertuis is a winery in Chateauneuf-du-Pape that has been run by the Juene family for six generations. Their 2010 “Vignoble de la Ramière” Côtes du Rhône is organically farmed, unfiltered, and a great value.
Predominantly Grenache with a touch of Syrah, this Rhône has aromas of cherry, herbs and earth. A nicely structured palate shows tastes of black cherry, blackberry, spice and herbs followed with a juicy finish. A sophisticated wine for the price! It pairs nicely with pork or salmon. (13.5% alcohol, $14)
Brandon and I spent Labor Day weekend in Santa Barbara wine country so you will be hearing about some of our adventures over the next few days (I had an amazing time so you will want to read about them!). I wanted to start off with a tasting that just seemed meant to be.
Anyone who knows me at least has a pretty good idea that Grenache is one of my favorite wines. A couple of friends told me I had to try an outstanding Grenache called A Tribute to Grace. I tried to get a few bottles of the 2009 vintage several months ago, but to my dismay, the wine was sold out. You see, A Tribute to Grace is made by a brilliant winemaker from New Zealand named Angela Osborne. She releases a very limited amount of her Santa Barbrara Highlands Vineyard Grenache and allows the wine to be what is wants to be (meaning she adds next to nothing to manipulate the wine during the fermentation and aging processes). I sent Angela an email last week to see if the 2010 vintage had been released because we were going to be in Santa Barbara and thought there may be a place we could try a glass. It turned out it was going to be released on the day we would be in town and she offered to meet Brandon and I at the restaurant where we already planned on having dinner in Los Alamos.
We had the opportunity to be some of the first to taste the new vintage and spent almost an hour talking with Angela and her husband Jason. Angela has such a passion for her wine and it shines through in her voice and in her beautiful Grenache. The 2010 vintage is truly one of the best wines I have had this year. Elegant yet rich with layers of flavor, this unfiltered wine has tastes of raspberries and delicate rose petals with soft notes of caramel and hints of spice. It is one of those wines that I will be thinking about for weeks to come and will anxiously await opening one of the bottles we brought home.
The only way to get a few bottles of this wine is by joining Angela’s mailing list (http://gracewinecompany.com/mailing-list/). I feel so lucky to have met Angela and Jason and to have tasted A Tribute to Grace Grenache with them. It was one of the highlights of our time in Santa Barbara. If you want to experience a beautiful wine, definitely give A Tribute to Grace a taste…it is truly poetry in a bottle!
One of my favorite places to go is the Farmer’s Market in San Clemente on Sunday mornings. What makes this Farmer’s Market even better is knowing that there is not one but two wine shops in the same few blocks as the market. Today I swung into San Clemente Wine Co. in search of a great wine for grilling over the 4th of July holiday. I was scanning the Spanish wines and a bottle of Los Dos Grenache Syrah caught my attention. For $9.99, I was hoping it would be a great mid-week wine pick.
About the Wine- From the Winery
Almira Los Dos 2009 Grenache Syrah is from Spain and is 85% Grenache and 15% Syrah. The wine has 14% alcohol and retails for around $10.
Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine
Los Dos Grenache Syrah pours a deep garnet in the glass. It has a bold nose of dark fruit with notes of minerality. This full-bodied Grenache blend explodes with tastes of juicy plum and dark cherry. The finish is spicy and dry and made me forget I was drinking a $10 wine (which is exactly what I hoped it would do!). This is definitely an easy drinking, casual wine that I give a thumbs up!
My Wine Rating- B+
Food Pairing Note- Perfect with burgers or steaks off the grill!