Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – Grenache Showdown

The September Installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on great bottles of Grenache. The idea for this installment was crowd sourced from some of my favorite followers on Twitter. It is timely as well, considering International Grenache Day was just a week ago. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened this weekend and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.

The Contenders:

  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin – I’ve drunk over a case of the 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Chaupin from my cellar, and this was easily one of the finest bottles (it was from magnum) I’ve ever had. Made from close to 100% Grenache and brought up in foudre, it’s a crazy good, monumental beauty that offers loads of ripe blackberries, black raspberries, crushed flowers and garrigue aromas and flavors. Concentrated, layered and unctuous, with a to-die-for texture, no hard edges and a huge finish, this beauty is still youthful and is just now starting to show hints of maturity. When it’s this good, I can’t recommend waiting, but I’ve no doubt this will continue to offer this level of quality for at least another decade.  99 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows – Fresh strawberry and elderberry are tinged with birch bark extract, black tea, and basil, making for an aromatically intriguing and lip-smacking palate presence. An upwelling of beef marrow and a Syrah- (or Gewurztraminer-) like hint of smoked meat add to the wine’s saliva-inducing savor. Here is a really vivid illustration of how the best Washington wines offer nearly luxuriant richness and sweet berry intensity but at the same time exhilarating vibrancy and lift. And, true to Baron’s repeatedly stated intentions, there are – beyond salt, stone, and smoky aura of black tea – elements impinging on this wine’s superbly sustained finish that can only be called “mineral,” even if one can’t find further words for them… Incidentally, the wine was vinified in concrete and then aged in demi-muids plus one concrete egg. Apropos controlling alcohol and enhancing ripe flavors, this beauty clocked in at what – in comparison with other recent vintages – counts as a modest 14.3%, despite its warm growing season; yet as you can tell from my description, there’s nothing under-ripe about its performance! 95 points from The Wine Advocate.
  • 2013 Outpost Howell Mountain – There are 410 cases of the 2013 Grenache. This wine, which used 100% whole-clusters and aged 14 months in neutral French oak, offers terrific authentic aromatics of kirsch liqueur and strawberries that jump from the glass of this medium ruby-colored wine. The color looks light and somewhat insipid, but it is in no way an indication of the lush, sexy, medium to full-bodied mouthfeel. This is a beauty, but seductive, and needs to be drunk in its first 4-5 years of life.  92 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which Grenache Should I Open?

  • 2009 Cayuse God Only Knows (39%, 20 Votes)
  • 2007 Domaine de la Janasse Chaupin (31%, 16 Votes)
  • 2013 Outpost Howell Mountain (29%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the October installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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7 thoughts on “Pick My Next Bottle – Grenache Showdown

  1. Tough choice between GOK and Janasse. I chose GOK as I have some still but would encourage you to join some of the Seattle area berserkers for the Grenache get together that is currently being planned.

  2. Tough call! I went with the Outpost because I have an undrunk bottle myself, but all of them sound mouthwatering!

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