March 13, 2007

२००२ Chateau Reynella Grenache, McLaren Vale, Australia

This was a wine that I stood in the wine shop holding for a few minutes doing a quick positive/negative analysis to determine if it should come home or not. It made it. In the positive category is that it is a Grenache from McLaren Vale, Australia. McLaren Vale is a pretty amazing wine region, and we reviewed the De Lisio Shiraz earlier from there and it did kick ass. Grenache is an ideal grape to grow in McLaren Vale, as most Rhone varietals are, and John Reynell is a highly respected old school Australian wine pioneer. His arrival dates back to 1838 (not sure if that was by choice or not... ) and in 1842 he released his first wine.

In the negative category is the fact that Chateau Reynella is a pretty huge winery. Almost like a wine factory. We tend toward the smaller, family run, hands-on wineries in our wine buying choices... more of the craft of wine vs. the enterprise. Another concern was the words "Basket Pressed" right on the front of the label. Now, basket pressed is not a bad thing. In fact, it is an incredibly involved traditional method of pressing the fruit that ostensibly results in superior quality juice. On its face, this would be a good thing to trumpet about any wine. In this case, I worried that it was the result of a careful marketing study conducted with a multitude of focus groups. Was I being watched at that very moment?

Well, obviously the wine came home and we opened and decanted for an hour before tasting. When we did we found a really bright and fresh smelling wine. The nose was full of concentrated raspberry and ripe strawberry, with a little wet soil. The palate delivered more raspberry along with cranberry, and earth and coffee in the finish. There were tannins, but they were in check and only added to what was really solid structure in the wine. Medium bodied, this is a great food wine and I would recommend something a little more rich to contrast well with the brightness of the fruit. This Grenache is definitely on par with the Domaine Lafage that we tasted last month, though with more focus on the fruit. My only knock would be the $10 price difference with the Lafage.

cost - $22.00

winecommando rating (1-10) - 8.25

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