RED GRENACHE AND BLENDS
Beckmen "Cuvée Le Bec" 2006 (Santa Ynez Valley; $18). Blackberries with a bright, herbal, floral side.
Cass Grenache 2005 (Paso Robles; $28).}] Cherries, chocolate, and mint.
Clos LaChance Grenache 2005 (Central Coast; $30). Bright with red fruit like cranberries.
Tablas Creek "Cðtes de Tablas" 2006 (Paso Robles; $25). Earthy but aromatic, with anise and black cherries.
Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant 2004 (California; $30). A tongue-in-cheek homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape's 1950s law forbidding flying saucers (or, in French, flying cigars) to land in the village's mostly Grenache vineyards is, in fact, a serious red wine with an earthy, minerally foundation for soft strawberries, herbs, and florals.
Fife "L'Attitude 39" 2004 (Mendocino; $18). A smoky nose, with licorice and tobacco, followed by dark berry and plum flavors and lush tannins.
Jaffurs Grenache 2006 (Santa Barbara County; $34). The wild side of the grape ― meaty and smoky, with lush cherries and pepper through a long finish.
Kunin "Pape Star" 2006 (Central Coast; $20). Earthy and a little minerally but with velvety fruit ― plums and berries ― and a slight herbal quality.
Martella Oleta Vineyard Grenache 2006 (Fiddletown; $26). Dark and smoky, with ripe, briary blackberries and pepper.
Maryhill Proprietor's Reserve Grenache 2005 (Columbia Valley; $26). Peppery, herbal, and deeply berried, this juicy wine is balanced with more than a little tannin.
Quivira Grenache 2006 (Dry Creek Valley; $26). Peppery blackberries, with a little anise spice and rich, meaty textures.
Qupé Purisima Mountain Vineyard Grenache 2005 (Santa Ynez Valley; $35). Earthy, loamy aromas, with a serious juicy cherry factor balanced with pepper.
Shannon Ridge Grenache 2006 (Lake County; $28). Soft fruit ― blackberries and plums ― edged in chocolate, with enough juicy acidity for great balance.
Twisted Oak "Torcido" Grenache 2005 (Calaveras County; $32). The nose puts you right in the forest, with cedar aromas; flavors run along the lines of minty dried cherries, violets, and black pepper ― a fascinating mix.