Sierra smile

Sierra Vista 2003 Grenache (El Dorado) – Weighty but not powerful, with raspberry and pomegranate but very little of the expected bubblegum, a slightly sludgy structure (though there’s plenty of it), and a somewhat more promising introduction of ground-flowerbed earthiness and spice on the finish. I’m unsure about this wine.

This producer, hidden amongst the remote hills of California’s gold country, gets very little respect vs. the quality of wine they produce…an obvious result of location; put them in newly-hip Paso Robles and the wines would be both expensive and impossible to find. Their syrah, zinfandel, and cabernet are often world-class, and the rest of the portfolio isn’t bad either. This bottling, formerly a blending component in a Rhône-style wine called “Fleur de Montagne,” perhaps shows some of the potential flaws of varietal grenache…except that it is apparently the recipient of a little blended syrah. I do wonder if they’re using their best grapes for this wine, and based on their other results I suspect that if they did, matters would improve. I could easily be underrating it, however. Alcohol: 14%. Web:

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