Grenache Speared

Rosy transparent. Literally transparent. I’ve seen Paso rosé darker than this. Clean beautiful direct fruit nose, but not cloyingly forward. Just soiled enough to bring a full spectrum of bouquet. It goes from 7-Up milk chocolate to Nehi Grape horse-stall effortlessly, all seamlessly wound into a nose so perfectly dirty Grenache with complex fruit simply not over-wrought.

These wines are the personal project of James Sparks, the winemaker at Liquid Farm–easily one of the benchmarks of California Chardonnay. I tasted them a couple years ago in shiners and begged him to let me at them on release. Now several releases in, the wines continue to astonish with their brightness and verve. Oh, and it’s from Spear Vineyards. If that means nothing to you, you are behind the curve already.

In the mouth, there’s just NO WAY to get this much concentration of flavor in a liquid this thin. There’s no way. Well, Grenache is one grape which can–in the right hands. Pinot can too, but I think Grenache is the king of clear wines that pack a wallop. Disgustingly ripe cherry, borne on the tang of kiwi and lychee, shred the mouth with razor acid. No signs of slowing down over the middle, rich and fluid, preparing you for the final onslaught of pepper and delicate tannin. Fruit takes over completely again in the end, creating a birth-to-birth scenario where the sweet ripeness lingers on and on.

Catch it if you can.

2016 KINGS CAREY Grenache Spear Vineyard Santa Rita Hills Santa Barbara Co. 13.5

www.kingscarey.com

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