Three things to look for in buying a house? Location, location, location. Three things to consider when selecting a wine? Locations, Locations, Locations. Where does the wine come from? How does it express its particular sense of place? A word should be forming in your mind: terroir. Esteemed winemaker Dave Phinney (of The Prisoner fame) has morphed into an oenological Dora the Explorer with his current project, Locations wines. Each area he explores, each partnership he forms and each wine his team produces strives for authenticity, typicity, and quality (at a more than fair price point, I might add). Let’s talk Grenache Locations.
As you may recall from past posts, I’m a big Rhône fan. Good Grenache doesn’t necessarily hail from France however. Given the appropriate climate, soil, aspect, and winemaking a true expression of this grape can even be found in Texas! This post will compare and contrast the nuances of three Locations wines, all are blends that feature Grenache as the star player.
- Grenache Locations F5 France
Nose: red fruit, bramble, savory, herbal, spice
Palate: cranberry, boysenberry, licorice, smooth tannins, medium + acid, black raspberry
Classic Rhône flavors, a compote of ripe red fruit– raspberry, black cherry, rhubarb; impressions of dried herbs, a definite savory quality, a supple, polished rusticity if such a thing is possible. What I’d expect of a southern French blend– a gutsy baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Steak frites, anyone?
- Grenache Locations E5 Spain
Nose: earth, stewed red and black fruit, pepper
Palate: plum, blackberries, slight salinity, warm stones, smoke, tart acidity with integrated tannins. I picture a sun-drenched, windblown, dusty vineyard for some reason. There’s a definite backbone to this wine, showing ripe yet not overly sweet black fruit. While it would stand up to any meat dish, it could be lovely with tapas and Spanish tortilla.
- Grenache Locations TX6 Texas
Nose: black cherry, forest floor, tarragon, spice
Palate: ripe red fruit, raspberry, cherry, wild strawberry, smooth tannins, medium plus acid, bright savory finish. Pleasantly surprised by the juicy deliciousness of this blend– it’s big like most things Texan, but not overpowering. Rather, it’s a balanced, drinkable, food-friendly ripe rich red. An all-American grilled burger with corn on the cob or Tex-Mex fajitas or nachos would both pair nicely.
What distinguishes these three expressions of terroir-driven Grenache blends? France gives us an accent of garrigue, Spain conjures up warm earth and leather and Texas boasts big fruit flavor. The common theme– sun, sun, sun. Locations wine doesn’t abide the “single appellation only” convention, rather the winemakers blend grapes sourced throughout the country (or state) to create a broader representation. The result is a wallet-friendly, food-friendly wine that easily pairs with its regional cuisine. KEN
I received samples of Locations wine. All opinions are my own.