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Lafage 2009 Côtes Catalanes “Cuvée Nicolas” (Roussillon) – 100% grenache. Goopier than I remember it, or perhaps I’m confusing it with a different cuvée. This expresses a lot of the sticky, bubblegummy flaws of hot-site grenache, with a heaviness that isn’t countervailed by anything. It’s not a terrible wine, but it’s a fair bit more glue-like than I prefer. (6/12)

Where’s Ralston?

Beckmen 2008 Grenache Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Spiced bubblegum. A strongly fruit-dominated wine – hello, grenache – that carries right through a fairly long finish. It’s one-note, but it’s a pleasant note.

Pure pink

Beckmen 2010 Grenache Rosé Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Very fruity. A bit of a bomblet, really. A raspberry neutron bomblet.


Verdad 2010 Grenache Rosé Sawyer Lindquist (Edna Valley) – Raspberry bubblegum. Texturally rich (aided by the strong impression of sweetness) with decent acidity. Not bad, not great.

Friends, Romangia, countrymen

Dettori 2006 Romangia Rosso Badde Nigolosu (Sardinia) – 100% cannonau (grenache). Subtle, seeming to rise from its lotus position with a slow unfolding of limbs. The subtlety never really goes away, though, and those expecting a more standard Sardinian cannonau – that is, one with a big and fruity palate impact – might be disappointed. Well, their loss. This requires attention to its graceful swirls of dusty berry and rich, semi-volcanic earth. The finish is so quiet that the inattentive will consider it to have departed long before it actually does. Not as showily brilliant as the white, this has more peaceful charms, and they’re more than OK. (11/10)

My name is Gilroy

Bonny Doon 2009 “Clos de Gilroy” Grenache (Monterey County) – Simple-minded strawberry bubblegum, raspberry, and doofusberry. Yes, that’s a new fruit. Not heavy but still managing to show its alcohol. Quite drinkable with aggressively-flavored animal parts and a switched-off brain, but the least bit of thought or attention leads to unpleasant reactions. (6/10)


Las Rocas de San Alejandro 2007 Catalayud Garnacha (Aragón) – Big, fruity wine. Soupy, perhaps, with lots of unfocused berries and a slightly numbing weight. Simple-minded, too. But at a low enough price, decently drinkable. (6/10)


Miller 2006 Grenache Shannon Ridge (Lake County) – 14.7%. Candy, bubblegum, synthetic strawberry syrup, and all the vapidity of badly-conceived plastic surgery caked with cheap makeup. Alcoholic, too. (4/10)


Lucien “Le Vieux Donjon” 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhône) – Smells like a Burgundy, tastes like a Rhône…but something more northerly, perhaps Côte-Rôtie, in its elegance and restraint. And it’s still very primary tannic and tight, albeit from a glacial cellar; more typical cellaring environments might lead to different results. It’s full of suggestions, gestures, and hints, with a peacock tail of aromas just waiting to burst forth. Classy and portending beauty. (3/10)