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MWG October 2nd tasting: Garnacha v. Grenache

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Rioja 2010, Propiedad, Bodega Palacios Remondo ($36.00, 10256131)
100% Garnacha (aka Grenache) from 40- to 90-year-old vines. In previous vintages, the wine has been a blend; the 2010 is the first all-Grenache bottling. The grapes were manually harvested, sorted in the vineyard and again at the cellar and fully destemmed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and maceration with regular punch-downs took place in 5,000-litre oak vats and lasted nearly a month. Matured 14 months in French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% second-fill. Unfiltered and unfined. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Les vins Horizon.
New Worldish nose: up-front plum and cherry, spicy notes (black pepper especially) and background vanilla. In the mouth, it’s a middleweight. Bright acidity and smooth tannins supplely structure the ripe-sweet fruit, while a slatey underlay adds depth. The oak-accented finish is heady, even a little flaring. Enjoyable in an uncomplicated – “one-dimensional” quoth one taster – fruit-forward way. Before the bottles were unveiled, another taster (tasting double-blind) who spends a lot of time in San Francisco declared this a Californian. And even I (tasting blind) was convinced it was the Bonny Doon. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Grenache 2012, Central Coast, Clos de Gilroy, Bonny Doon Vineyard ($28.30, 12268557)
Mostly biodynamically farmed Grenache (84%, from the Alta Loma vineyard in Greenfield) with a little Syrah (11.5%, from the Alamo Creek Vineyard near Santa Maria) and Mouvèdre (4.5%, from very old vines in Oakley). Manually harvested and sorted. Mostly destemmed. The varieties were vinified separately. A cold soak of several days was followed by lengthy fermentation (with indigenous yeasts) and maceration in open vats with regular punch-downs. Matured in stainless steel tanks, then blended and bottled. Screwcapped. 14.4% ABV. Quebec agent: Trialto.
Fresh nose of crushed raspberry, white pepper and pastry cream over a subterranean bass line. Tighter and more structured than the Rioja, though also a middleweight. The satiny fruit is lifted by high acidity, framed by sleek tannins and grounded by dark minerals. Finishes cleanly on a heady, herb-scented note. An appealing mix of suave and gruff. Unfortunately, like so many California wines in Quebec, the QPR seems a little off. (Buy again? At $28.30, maybe. If it were $5 cheaper, sure.)

(Flight: 4/6)

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Written by carswell

October 22, 2014 at 11:29

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