2018 Grenache (Heringer Estates) by Passaggio

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Grenache (Heringer Estates) by Passaggio Wines, San Francisco, California.

Just look at the color. Wow. Nose is slightly shy out of the bottle with primary notes of a crisp sweet cherry cola. A damp old oak leather lingers in the back. Swirling vigorously unlocks a burst of bright, sweet cherry, strawberry and red vines licorice. Faint blueberries linger in the back. Ugghhh… Seriously!

Body is restrained and precisely balanced. A plush, cola greets the palate, imparting a soft bitter essence. Cherries and crisp oak add a soft, fleshy, palate-wetting, mouth feel. Bacon Fat! That’s it! Thin crisp tannins provide just enough structure while remaining almost unnoticeable. As it progresses, a firm heat slowly ramps up, fully engulfing the palate from front to back. Over time this heat falls way back. Giving way to a dry dusty finish with cola and cherry dancing into the sunset, as it comes full circle. At 13.4% ABV, I am going to thoroughly enjoy this occasion.

Cindy’s wines are highly understated, precise, balanced, crisp and beautiful. There’s a certain obsession with perfection I don’t see often. This starts with the color. Usually wines this good, have an element of creative chaos. Not her wines. I cannot say enough about this Winemaker’s work.

Cindy… Stoppit! You’re killin me!🍷😭👌🏽

Read more about Passagio Wines on WineSnob.

2018 Aglianico by Passaggio Wines

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Aglianico (Heringer Estates, Clarksburg) by Passaggio Wines

The color is mesmerizing. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with subtle hints of dried tart fruit. Swirl vigorously to unlock crisp plum, slightly ripe cherries and a wet loamy soil and driftwood underlayment typical of Clarksburg. Distant floral notes I can’t pinpoint, dance in the background. Gorgeous!

Body is crisp. Mildly acidic. That tart fruit carries forward, immediately accompanied by an unmistakable clean, crisp, refined caramel. Crisp, clean tannins provide a sparing framework without dominating. This is a massive beast of a varietal and I have never seen it tamed like this. Terroir is almost neutral. Transition to finish is seamless and ends in a subtle spice heat while those restrained tannins finally show themselves in the form of a long, dry enduring grip.

This winemaker took a chance with this beast of a varietal and I think it paid off. She also has another Aglianico made in the more typical/traditional style. I highly recommend getting them both together. They make a great study of this grape’s broad potential.

Cindy is a small artisan winemaker to follow closely. Her wines are all amazing if not head-scratching at at times.

Nicely done Cindy! 🍷😁👌🏽

Read more about Passagio Wines on WineSnob.