2017 Grenache (Rogue Valley) by Willamette Valley Vineyards

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Grenache (Rogue Valley) by Willamette Valley Vineyards, Southern Oregon

Intense clear ruby color. Aromatic nose with bright ripe fruit, cherries, raspberries and red vines licorice. A white pepper permeates the stage. Hints of crisp refined caramel reminiscent of neutral French oak.

Body is balanced from front to back. A soft, lush, slightly weighted mouth feel greets the palate immediately, usually a mineral expression. This quickly dissipates into a thin, wispy cloud. Contrary to what the nose would suggest, it is dry. Cherry and raspberry carry forward as mere suggestions. A crisp caramel accentuates the restrained fruit. Thin, crisp tannins provide a restrained, unobtrusive but firm structure. A bold, crisp spice emerges midway and intensifies through the finish. Transition to finish is seamless, culminating in a subtle bitter tannic grip, hints of crisp caramel, and a warm spice heat. For the sensitive/advanced palate there is a touch of bacon fat so faint you’d likely miss it. Can you pick it out?

Grenache is fast becoming one of my favorite varietals. As with Pinot Noir, it is highly terroir expressive. I love exploring how it channels different regions and their terroir. In this case – Southern Oregon – it presents a more subtle, nuanced even muted expression. This region is known for some very nuanced wines and tamed big varietals. This is a well executed Grenache that opens the window into this region with a view the intermediate to advanced palate should appreciate. Willamette Valley Vineyards has done a great job with this wine.

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