Volcanic Grenache

Consistently blown away by how good these wines are. Don’t mean to sound surprised, but face it: there’s always an asterisk dangling on wines from some regions. When you see Lodi, there’s an asterisk. When you see Temecula or Sierra Foothills, there’s an asterisk in the back of your mind from the wine’s you’ve tasted from there. For some people, Paso Robles or Oregon or even Napa get an asterisk, maybe even the entire state of California. But these wines are so solid, so pure and clean–I don’t want to say ‘mainstream’, as homogenousness is something we should all be working against. But we have all tasted enough Sierra Foothills wines to know there can be a *profile*: extra baggage the region sometimes carries which can, on one hand, make them unmistakable, but frequently they are in heavy doses, making the products stand out heavily from the typicity of the variety grown in more established regions.

This thing right here? It would be fun to taste this in a line-up of usual suspects from Santa Barbara–anywhere on the Central Coast–or Sonoma or North Coasts. There’s none of those things which often come raging out of Foothills wines: burnt, pruny nuances, overt alcohol or fleshiness. Bright and rich in the nose, the light garnet pumps spiciness and volcanic soil hard into your nostrils. Clean pitchy leather, a bit of blackstrap, gorgeous stewed-cherry fruit calm and even-keeled. Thick and sweet-smelling, it’s got a lot of flesh to cover, and I don’t think the alcohol is particularly low: I’m gonna guess 14-7.

Tasting it confirms everything in the bouquet. Concentrated FAR beyond the density in the glass, brightly acid-edged berry–dark and ridiculously extracted–coats all surfaces, causing teeth-wiping reflexes from your tongue. It is a BIG Grenache, with fiery tannins going head-to-head with the buttery depth of the cherry, blackberry, plum and blood orange. The black heart of the structure creases the middle, forming a small crevice all paths flood to, and–despite the almost sinful young age–provides a clean exit for all contributing parties.

An astounding version of the variety–one I would highly recommend to all fans of this chameleon grape.

2018 LAVA CAP Grenache Sierra Foothills California 14.8


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