Mark Aselstine
 
May 29, 2013 | Mark Aselstine

Sans Liege Groundwork Grenache Blanc

Sans Liege is the most recent project by winemaker Curt Schalchlin and we were so impressed with the winery and the price to quality ratio of the project that we decided to feature these wines in two of our wine clubs during May-more on the Grenache offering later, but for now, let’s focus on the Grenache Blanc.

Let’s start with why we were interested in featuring these wines in the first place. One of our favorite tasting trips since starting Uncorked Ventures was a trip to Paso Robles which included an early evening with Russel Fromm and McPrice Myers who make the wine together at Barrel 27 and each have their own personal label (McPrice Myers named it directly after himself, while Russell tried to confuse everyone by naming his Herman Story).  We came away from those few hours with not only a good understanding of their wines, some greater understanding of palate fatigue having tasting close to 40 wines and of course with an appreciation for their winemaking styles as well as some of the tope vineyards on the Central Coast.

For some time we’ve been searching for another winemaker who fits squarely into their winemaking style and frankly their pricing, where I strongly believe they leave at least a few dollars on the table with each and every bottle they create.

Enter Curt and Sans Liege.

One of the things we’ve come to like quite a bit about the Central Coast, specifically Paso Robles and much of the Santa Ynez Valley is that the vineyards are relatively easy to keep straight.  San Liege boasts a virtual who’s who of vineyard sources that we enjoy.  Alta Colina, Bien Nacido, Alta Mesa, Larner and a few others (where’s the Tierra Alta inclusion though?).  To us, as outside observes, it’s clear that there’s a serious effort at the highest quality wine here.

Ok, so enough about the background-what about the Grenache Blanc in your glass?

The wineries tasting notes read: Vibrant and cool, the 2012 Groundwork Grenache Blanc is like a English garden impossibly fully bloomed in winter. A fresh nose of tangerine, lemon grass, Bosch pear, white cherry and passion fruit leads to a brightly spiced, mineral laden palate of fresh thyme, star anise, orange blossom, wet flagstone and lemon oil, it finishes with pleasantly trill acidity much like nibbling a meyer lemon.

At our initial taste, we were impressed by the roundness of this Grenache Blanc.  When we’ve tried to find other Grenache Blanc’s to ship, we’re often confronted with wines that have a level of acidity that many of our customers would find offputting.  That acidity isn’t evident here, although you’re not going to confuse this wine with a class round Napa Valley Chardonnay either.

There is plenty of the traditional slightly spicy finish here as well, which makes Grenache Blanc one of the best pairings with roasted pork chops, or in my house-pork tenderloin

Overall we walked away thinking that this was simply a great summer wine and honestly, one our favorite Grenache Blanc’s that we’ve had in quite some time.  We’ve seen quite a few quotes from Schalchlin talking about how he feels inspired by the Northern Rhone (who in Paso isn’t right?) but he goes the next step and creates a wine which the French would find familiar, it’s enjoyable with plenty of fruit but imminently in balance.  We’d challenge anyone to find a comparable wine at this $16 price point.

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