This is a pretty simple little wine. I picked it off a resty list because there wasn’t much else interesting and, well: Chalone. I’ve had Chalone’s Grenache, and I was curious to compare. Inexpensive and quite dark ruby, it still has the brilliant thin color of the proper California applications of the variety, with a touch of garnet. Meaty and dense in the nose, it shows a lot of bright cherry fruit with a dark streak of oak and concentration.
In the mouth, a sense of alcohol pervades. Dense gobs of berry and bright acidity surround the dark construction of the wine, rather one-dimensional and simply fruited. It is clean and beautiful, but not super-interesting. There’s no funk or tannin, and the nuance of alcohol creates a burn difficult to ignore. It has two positions: a flabby round entry and a hot finish. Everything in between just screams Monterey mediocrity. For a restaurant, it is a win-win. Fruity and alcoholic without the varietal complexity which can dissuade the 99. It is solid, relatively flawless, clean and direct–a beautiful sipping wine able to complement a wide variety of food, or most-dominantly: non-contemplative glass-tipping.
It’s not a bad wine, and for the price, you can’t go wrong. I’m guessing it near-15, and that flies in the face of its meager construction. Order it if you find it: DON’T take it to any Grenache show-downs. An entry level example of the variety I am thrilled will get both “Grenache” and “Chalone” in front of customers for educational considerations, it might be far more successful labeled “Red Wine” so as to not fret the target demographic with weird shit on a label they will be intimidated by.
2016 FLYWHEEL Grenache Boer Vyd Chalone Monterey Co. 14.9