You see *carbonic* on a label and you get the impression it’s gonna be light and frilly, maybe even fizzy, and then the contents blow all that away. Dark and concentrated in the nose, raspberry, black cherry, even tobacco and heavy earth. A sure-fire way of shutting down the *carbonic destroys fruit* crowd. A light 7-Up-ish upswell brings a nice minerality with it–one part steel and rust, one part DG and spring water. Transparent garnet with a ruby core and bright purple edges, the thick fruit flowing off this thing really carries very little asterisk of carbonic with it.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m drinking this at 60°, it has been open 24 hrs with one glass removed, gassed, pumped and refrigerated. I’m only telling you this because I think it beefed up the wine a bit. Last night it seemed more playful, more Jolly Rancher, more gassy and–dare I say–shallow. Of course, I was also drinking it after Zinfandel jet-fuel, so….
Shockingly Beaujolais-ish in the mouth. The green grime of fresh soil blends effortlessly with ample acid, coating the palate with light bitterness and modest fruit, but not the giant gobs of berry the nose exemplified. Beautiful, sweet and calm on entry, it quickly morphs into an acidic wonder, etching all surfaces while dusty concentration dwaddles about in the background. A stellar pillar of iron thrusts itself up late-middle, creating a self-serving pole everything can dance around.
I almost wish it didn’t say “Carbonic” on the front. The 99 won’t care, won’t notice, don’t know (they’re busy reading back labels to see if it has “rich chocolate, cassis, and vanilla” in it), and I fear the 1% will perhaps consider it a pre-pubescent plaything for rosé luncheons and spritzer brunches. That is NOT this wine. This is a serious Grenache, full of spirit and funk, dedicated to ripe fruit, and only marching arm-in-arm with flamboyant acid and mineral to tip the scale.
2019 THE GRENACHISTA Grenache Noir ‘Carbonic’ Mathis Vyd. Sonoma Valley Sonoma Co. 14.1