May Wine Club: You say, ‘Garnacha.’ I say, ‘Grenache.’ Let’s call the whole thing spectacular!

May 4, 2017 by Sean  
Filed under Inspired Posts, Monthly newsletter

It’s one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, and stars in some of the most prestigious wines — Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and even Priorat.  Yet, here we are today where the humble Grenache aka Garnacha grape is still a rarity on restaurant menus and probably in individual wine collections.

This month’s Inspired Wine Club hopes to show what you’ve been missing from your wine glasses that habitually reach for Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Malbec – tasty varietals in their own right, of course.  But Grenache is a worthy wine, and one perfect for so many occasions that it should be recognized for far more than being a frequent component of rosé.

So, this month, we offer a comparison of Grenache and Garnacha. You get to sample a Spanish 100% Garnacha and see how it measures up against the Cotes du Rhone Grenache blend. Honestly, we love them both.  Best of all, they are versatile wines that seemed perfect for seguing from spring to summer.

2015 ReyNoble Garnacha, Navarra, Spain

The Navarra region is better known for its Tempranillo grapes, and this winemaker certainly produces those wines as well.  However, the Garnacha fashioned here is more subtle and jammy, and a fully satisfying quaff for a medium-bodied wine. This unoaked ruby-red wine provides wafts of raspberry, strawberry and red cherry, accented with an earthiness and black pepper.  In this case, the jamminess is of the red berry variety with mineral hints, soft tannins and a long finish. On the palate, the wine is dry, while also tasting fresh.  Perfect for spring.  Perfect for grilled meats, cheeses and even that gourmet Kobe hamburger topped with artisanal reserve bleu cheese. The name, “Rey Noble,” say it all: it’s a wine fit for a king (or queen!).

2012 Le Goeuil Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone, France

This lovely is an example of how Grenache magically makes everything taste even better when it’s the focal point of a red blend.  With a combination of 51% Grenache, 35% Syrah & Mouvrèdre, and 14% Carignan and Counoise, this wine is able to virtually transport you to an Avignon outdoor café in springtime. Of course, this blend will vary year to year, depending on which varietals provide the best taste profile. Because this region is slightly cooler than Navarra, Spain, the wines tend to be lower in alcohol and with an added subtlety. For example, the jamminess here provides twangs of pomegranate or rhubarb along with cherry. You’ll notice smokier or more tobacco-y herbal notes that include an air of Herbes de Provence, especially lavender and oregano. Again, this is a versatile wine, and one that marries well with grilled poultry, such as an herb-roasted game hen with garlic and lemon orzo. Another perfect red wine for the spring!


C’est Si bon! C’est l’amour!

It’s February, and if your significant other hasn’t already reminded you, this is the month of love, per our favorite saint:  St. Valentine.  And, of course, we know the language of love is often à la Français, so we’ve got you covered.  Your inspired wine club has found wines not only irresistible, but also French!  Yes, these are delectable treats that will help set the tone with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day or any other day you seek some romance.  Whether you lean toward whites or reds, this month features two amorous wines ready to bring a little passion to the day. In the immortal words of Earth Kitt, c’est si bon!

Schröder & Schÿler 2015 Chartron la Fleur, Bordeaux, France

With 86 points from Wine Enthusiast, you’re bound to enjoy this light and bright Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. This wine is light, crisp and fruity, simultaneously citrus and floral. Its lime and grapefruit notes provide a vibrancy.  A tang of lemon zest give the wine an even fresher character. Celebrating your Valentine’s Day with a lobster Newburg?  An elegant seafood soufflé?  Maybe oysters on the half shell?  This is the wine to round out that meal. It complements any fish or seafood.

Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras, Rhone, France

Another award-winner, this wine has been described by the Wine Advocate as “a more modern-styled, less –typique- as the French would say, well-made, dense wine with more pain grille/toast notes intermixed with espresso roast, kirsch, black currants and licorice.” We would probably just say that it’s a gorgeous blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. Its origin from old vines and 12 months of aging in oak barrels provides an impeccable richness. It is a bold, full-bodied wine, ready to marry up with a creamy steak au poivre, a succulent prime rib or even a garlicky pork roast.  The only thing missing is Cupid.


October Wine Club: Springtime in South America

October 1, 2016 by Sean  
Filed under Inspired Posts, Monthly newsletter

We may just be reaching for our warmer wraps, ostensibly raking an infinite number of leaves, and pondering where to procure this year’s supply of firewood.  But, far, far south – yes, not just south of the border, but south of the equator in a completely different hemisphere, we have winemakers who are celebrating the beginning of a season.  There, spring has blossomed just as remarkably as autumn here has deepened the hues of our local landscape.

Of course, the good news is that those South American winemakers in Chile and Argentina are providing some gorgeous wines to help us fortify ourselves against the cold and celebrate the wonderful moments that come with this time of year.  Whether you are carving a jack-o-lantern with the children, hosting a harvest-season party or just settling in to a good novel, we think this month’s Inspired Wine Club wines might be wonderful quaffs to have nearby.

2014 Garcia & Schwaderer Bravado, Itata Valley, Chile

Produced in what is considered the “Chilean Tuscany,” approximately 250 miles south of Santiago, this red blend pulls all the best features from its individual varietal components to produce a lush, quaffable wine that is just right for the season. Made from 39% Carignan, 21% Petit Verdot, 15% Syrah, 13% Carmenere, 6% Grenache and 6% Mourvèdre, Bravado is exactly that – bold and beautiful.  In fact Wine Spectator this year awarded it 89 points, describing how it, “offers aromas of fresh-crushed red fruits and flavors of raspberry, red plum and boysenberry [and] presents vibrant acidity, with a finish that offers hints of licorice and cinnamon.” We too appreciate Bravado’s balance and long-lasting finish. Of note is how the Carignan’s acidity is able to weave through the fruitiness and provide a tasty complexity. It’s a grand wine to pair with those heartier meals we are all preparing with the cooler weather. Whether it’s simply grilled portabellas or a braised Italian-style pot roast accented with fresh thyme, rosemary and juniper berries, Bravado will rise to the occasion.

2015 RJ Vinedos MDZ Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Bucking the trend of blending Malbec with other reds, RJ Vinedos produces a 100% Malbec, believing quite simply that good grapes produce good wines, and allowing that to occur naturally – no chemicals and in a sustainable vineyard – produces outstanding wine, as in this case. They have succeeded at showcasing Mendoza’s best and classic qualities.  From first sniff, the nose is teased with hints of mocha, blueberry, cherries and rose petals. And that is followed up by a rich mouth feel resulting from good structure and smooth tannins. This fruit-driven wine showcases boysenberry, blackberry, cocoa and cola nut flavors on the palate. Enjoy the long, smooth finish with hints of dried herbs and cedar that permeate the bright, vibrant wine.  An ideal companion for a steak au poivre, a cheese platter of hard cheeses or a garlicky lamb roast.


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