You don't see much domestic Grenache on the California market despite the fact that it is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. It is most likely that you have tasted it in a blend, perhaps in a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a Gigondas or in a Shiraz blend from Australia. Grenache is a grape that likes heat, which is why we looked to our neighbor over the hill in Ukiah to supply us with the fruit. Why was it planted over the hill in the 1930s? America was in the grips of Prohibition but Section 29 of the Volstead Act allowed for heads of household to make up to 200 gallons of wine each year. Grenache grapes have unusually thick skins and could withstand the jiggling of the trains and trucks as it made its way to the cellars of home winemakers in San Francisco and beyond. It was one of the grapes that kept Russian River grape farmers going during the dry spell of 1919 until Repeal in 1933.
"This cherry red colored Grenache is a very nice effort from the folks from Navarro. This wine opens with a mild raspberry bouquet with a hint of red cherry and oak. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, nicely balanced, and quite juicy. This showy fruit forward Grenache displays tasty mild raspberry and plum flavors. There were hints of spice and red cherries mixed in as well. The finish is rather dry and its moderate well managed tannins drift away nicely."
Cobwebs are a welcome site in a vineyard. Spiders are often the first critters affected by sprays so their webs are a prime indicator that a grower is concerned about the little guys. Dark Horse Vineyards grew the Grenache for this wine and their biodynamic farming is a boon to arachnids.
Grenache does not produce a particularly dark wine which is why we added 10% Mourvèdre. The variety's appeal is its soft, velvety texture and spicy flavors of anise, strawberry, allspice and red licorice. We like to serve it with lamb curry. And thanks to Repeal, you can buy it from Navarro as wine rather than as some bounced around grapes in a wooden crate. Gold Medal winner.
A red wine from Grenache is not the only new member to our family. Zoë Anisa Bennett was born December 16, 2009 and helped celebrate her Great Grandma's birthday, who was born ninety years ago during the first year of Prohibition.