This Thirsty Thursday we need something interesting. Labor Day will come and we will drink cheap beer. The last thing we need on Labor Day is a conversion about grape clonal types. It is a day to eat, drink, and not think.
But until the brainwashing, let’s test that gray matter with something familiar but not: Grenache. Now Grenache has starred in award winning red roles such as: Châteauneuf du Pape, Rhône, Rioja, Priorat, anything big red and Languedoc, and rosé from Provence.
And then there’s Grenache Blanc: a mutation of Grenache Noir, much as Pinot Noir mutated into Blanc and Gris. Like Grenache Noir, Blanc grows vigorously throughout the Western Mediterranean, producing large, thin-skinned grapes that can reach high alcohols.
Today we find it in Somontano DO: an appellation high in the foothills below the Pyrenees and East of Rioja:
The producer is Viñas del Vero, which sounds like some pure, board room meeting, demographics-tested, genius (like Blue Sky Thinking or Gogurt), but they are real, really. They own 700 hectares and a real winery: San Marcos estate. One of their vineyards is solely dedicated to Garnacha Blanco: La Miranda de Secactella. And this is what their 2012 tastes like:
Aromas: Think of a medium intense mix of lemongrass, honeydew melon, and white pear that meshes with an exotic, but light, layer of chai tea with cream.
Palate: Dry, perfectly present balancing acidity, a ripe, fullish body, and actually hints of tannin.
Flavors: a ringing line of grassy, snappy, lemon-like greenness runs through this. Around it layer soft white melon, those chai tea spices, and pear, all of which tighten into a salt-like minerality. Long.
Conclusions: Mouthwatering yet fat. This reminds me of really good chardonnay from cool climates of the new world: crackling acidity that keeps a rich body in check, while a deft lacing of French oak melds both acid and body into one fairly harmonious whole: very good (4 out 5). This could take on richer dishes, herbed white meats, grilling, cream sauces, fried things. And it costs under $15.
So today, grab something new. Test that gray matter, while it still cares. And then have a happy Labor Day.