Washington Wine 2015

Top Grenache

Still a niche variety with only 268 acres planted in Washington (by comparison, cabernet has over 14,000), grenache is producing some of the state’s best wines.

By Sean P. Sullivan September 9, 2015 Published in the September 2015 issue of Seattle Met

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Inside Maison Bleue's tasting room.

1. No Girls Grenache La Paciencia Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2012 - $70

Assistant vigneron Elizabeth Bourcier takes the lead on this project from Christophe Baron. With fruit from the vineyard named La Paciencia—“patience”—the wine was 10 years in the making. Vibrant aromas of green olive, peat, and stargazer lilies lead to elegant smoked meat and other savory notes.

2. B. Leighton Wines Grenache Olsen Brothers Vineyard Yakima Valley 2012 - $45

This is the much-anticipated inaugural vintage for this project from Brennon Leighton, whose day job is heading up winemaking efforts at Charles Smith Wines. The resulting wine is a head turner with aromas and flavors of olive, raspberry, and plum with a pillowy mouthfeel.

3. Rotie Cellars Little G Grenache Washington 2013 - $65

A fresh, lively grenache saw no new oak, this wine puts the focus squarely on the fruit. It’s almost pinotlike in delicacy and purity, with generous raspberry and other red fruit notes along with herb accents. 

4. Latta Grenache Upland Vineyard Snipes Mountain 2011 - $45

Blazing-hot Snipes Mountain is quickly establishing itself as one of the state’s premier locations for this heat-seeking variety. This grenache brings perfumed notes of potpourri, candied red fruit, red plum, and mineral along with exquisite elegance and restraint.

5. Maison Bleue Bourgeois Grenache Columbia Valley 2012 - $50

Made from a blend of fruit grown in Boushey, Ciel du Cheval, and Seven Hills vineyards, this grenache offers a complex assortment of aromas, including Asian spices, dark plum, and licorice, that lead to a velvety, full-bodied, flavorful palate. 

6. Sparkman Cellars Wonderland Grenache Yakima Valley 2013 - $32

The majority of this wine comes from two of the state’s top vineyard sites, Boushey and Olsen. There’s an uncommon sense of purity to the creamy strawberry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors with a kiss of new French oak (25 percent) rounding out the feel.

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