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Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

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Grenache Blanc

Snooth & Wines of Garnacha Celebrate Garnacha Day 2016 with a Virtual Tasting

Snooth & Wines of Garnacha Celebrate Garnacha Day 2016 with a Virtual Tasting

Wine Lovers from all over the world gathered in front of their computers, tablets and phones this evening to celebrate Garancha Virtually. Corkbuzz Wine Studio owner and Master Sommelier Laura Maniec hosted the event from New York City along with esteemed Master of Wine Christy Canterbury. Laura and Christy led everyone who participated through 5 examples of Garnacha over an hour. They fielded a ton of questions and provided a cornucopia of information about the specific wines as well as Garnacha in general.  Both Garnacha Blanca and Garnacha, all from Spain, were sampled. The event was hosted by Snooth.

Seeing as all evidence points to Spain as Garnacha’s point of origin wines from there are the most natural way to celebrate this grape’s big day. The wines tasted represented several regions in different parts of Spain, offering climatic, soil type and altitude differences as well as other diverse growing conditions.  Garnacha has the ability to produce wines of great distinction and intensity. Additionally, wines produced from Garnacha are often some of the best values on your local wine store shelves. More importantly well made Garnacha is one of the most food friendly wines in the world.

Clos Dalian 2015 Garnacha Blanca ($11)

This is composed entirely of Garnacha Blanca from DO Terra Alata in Catalonia. Bits of lemon rind emerge from the nose. Fleshy yellow melon and minerals dominate the palate. White pepper and wet limestone notes are part of the finish. For the price this is an exception everyday white.

La Miranda de Secastilla 2014 Garnacha Blanca 2014 ($17)

The vineyard the fruit (100% Garnacha Blanca) for this wine comes from is located in Somontano, more than 700 meters above sea level. After fermentation it spent four months in French oak. Petrol, toasted hazelnut and linseed oil aromas light up the nose. Grapefruit and sour yellow melon fill the palate. Bits of vanilla, continued citrus and toasty oak are present on the above average, firm finish.

Castillo de Monseran 2014 Garnacha Cariñena  ($11)

The fruit for this wine came from vineyards in the Cariñena DO. Different fermentation techniques are used depending on which vineyard and terroir type the grapes came from. Black olive and cherry aromas dominate the nose. Fresh, vibrant pomegranate and cranberry flavors fill the palate. Bits of velvet, spice and a dollop of charcoal round out the finish. This is an exceptional value and great everyday red. It'll work well with a bit of a chill on it too.

Evodia 2015 Garnacha ($11)

The Garnacha for this wine came from Mountain areas in the Atea region of Spain. After stainless steel fermentation aging took place entirely in tank.Red plum and leather notes abound on the engaging nose. Oodles of red and black cherries are strewn throughout the substantial palate. Cloves, cinnamon and a host of minerals are in play on the above average finish.

Garnacha 2014 Centenaria ($17)

All of the fruit came from two vineyards located on arid slopes of the Iberian Mountains. Aging took place over 4 months in new French oak. Red fruits, spice and wisps of savory herb are present on the vivacious nose. Vanilla bean, kalamata olive and continued red fruits dominate the bold, fruit forward palate. A touch of earth and loads of dried red fruit are evident on the juicy and mouth-filling finish. This Garnacha has outstanding mouth-feel, soft, yielding tannins and racy acid.

If you're new to Garnacha any of the above examples are an excellent entry point into the splendors of this wonderfully food friendly grape. Buy one or two of them and discover Garnacha's charms for yourself.

Bokisch Vineyards, a Burgeoning Jewel in Lodi California

BokischTempranilloLodi2012Having spent a lot of time in many of California’s wine-growing regions, it was about time that I made it to Lodi. A couple of weeks back I did exactly that as a guest of the Winegrowers of Lodi. Over a period of four days, the group I was with extensively toured vineyards sites and wineries. Along the way, we tasted something like a boatload of wine — maybe a little more. The trip was designed to open our eyes to Lodi as a premium wine-growing region, and it did just that for me. While I was aware that some fine wine was coming from the area, I had no real idea about the wide array of grapes being grown or how many boutique producers there are doing their own thing. In short, there are a lot of exciting things going on in Lodi, California, and I’ll get to many of them in time. For now, though, I’m focusing on one producer. Bokisch Vineyards was founded after Markus and Liz Bokisch lived for a year in Spain, where Markus spent his summers during childhood. Refreshing this connection to his heritage made an impression on both Markus and Liz. After moving back to the United States, they settled in Lodi and bought land to start their winery. With their obvious love for Spanish wines and culture, their next decision made complete sense: They would focus entirely on Spanish varietals. Head over to The Daily Meal to read the rest:

Eberle - 2008 Cotes-Du-Robles Blanc

The Paso Robles region in California has been exploding over the last decade. Both it’s reputation and number of wineries have grown by leaps and bounds. It’s a fascinating region where a wide swath of varietals can thrive. However one of the biggest marks they have been making is with Rhone varietals. Bottled both as stand alone wines and in blends, many grapes known best for theirRhone origins thrive spectacularly in Paso Robles. Today I’ll look at a white blend from Eberle Winery. The Eberle 2008 Cotes-Du-Robles Blanc is a blend of Roussanne (49%), Grenache Blanc (33%), and Viognier (18%). The fruit for this selection was sourced from two vineyard sites; Steinbeck Vineyard and Robert Hall Vineyard. Each varietal was hand harvested separately and inoculated with yeast in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation and aging then took place in French oak (20% new) over a period of 9 months. The components were brought together to form the final blend right before bottling. This offering is currently available at for $22.89

Aromas of Lychee, white peach and apricot are all present on the nose of this wine. Both stone and orchard fruit present themselves on the palate. Pear, apricot and white peach are all prominent and abundant in flavor throughout the palate of this wine which has substantial depth and layer after layer of flavor. An unctuous quality emerges on the finish which also shows off copious spices and bits of clover honey. This wine drinks beautifully on it’s own but will be a tremendous partner for soft cheeses, or pastas with cream based sauces.

Eberle has been a solid name in Paso Robles for quite awhile now. Their take on a white Rhones tyle blend is another feather in their cap. With warm weather here, this wine is a great choice to have on hand for outdoor gatherings.

Cameron Hughes - Lot 117, 2007 Santa Barbara County Grencache Blanc/Viognier

This year I’ve looked at several wines from négociant Cameron Hughes. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a négociant works as follows. He or she purchases grapes or juice from other growers and sells them under his or her, own label. Cameron Hughes is a California based négociant. And while that is his base of operations, he sources lots of wine from numerous regions, the world over.  Most often a well regarded winery or grower might be selling a finished product which Cameron Hughes Wine bottles or packages. Sometimes they take separate sources and blend them to come up with a unique and perhaps better wine. The goal in each case is to offer a superior product for significantly less than it would cost if it had the original producer or growers name. I’ve been impressed with the across the board quality of the previous Cameron Hughes wines I’ve had. Today I’ll look at a white blend. Cameron Hughes Lot 117 is a 2007 with its origins in Santa Barbara County. This selection is a blend of Grenache Blanc (54%) and Viognier (46%). 300 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $12.

Orange blossom, apricot, mango and vanilla aromas burst forth from the demonstrative nose of this Grenche Blanc/Viognier blend. White peach, honey notes and continued apricot are all part of the palate. Lighter almond and hazelnut characteristics are present as well. Chamomile tea leads the lingering finish. The very impressive close also shows loads of mineral and spice notes. This wine is perfectly dry with crisp acidity.

For $12 you won’t mind opening this wine casually and sipping it on its own or with a quick meal. That’s fine and good, but this is also a serious wine with lots of complexity and charm. It’ll pair beautifully with lighter foods. This is another terrific deal from Cameron Hughes.

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