An ongoing favorite, both in terms of the varietal, but also because the wine is just so damn good. Plus, it’s nice to continue supporting a young winemaker attempting to make a name for herself. Here’s a video intro for the Last Summer Grenache that’s in some of your wine club shipments this month. Added bonus if you recognize where the quote on the back came from.
Hi, everyone. Mark Aselstine with Uncorked Ventures. So I’m going to hold this up so you can get a good look at it. This is a Last Summer Grenache. So if you’re a Special Selections Wine Club member, this is showing up here in early to mid-March. I think when you open this up, you’re going to notice a few things.
First, it is 100% Grenache. It’s from the Central Coast. The Wine Club newsletter this month goes into some detail about the vineyard location and that kind of stuff, so I don’t wanna rehash here. But you are getting a very cool climate Grenache that, in a lot of ways, is probably going to remind you a bit of Pinot.
I’ve talked a lot about Grenache. It’s one of my favorite varietals, and it’s one of my favorites because you get this wide range of possibilities. You know, if it’s planted in warm climates you get this kind of thinner, more tannic version that you might be more familiar with, like in a GSM blend from southern France where it’s pretty warm.
This is acidic. It’s dark. It’s almost kind of brooding compared to the varietal. And that’s almost counter-intuitive, but the longer growing season that you get from cooler climates often leads to darker wine. And also, there’s a second part of that which is, typically, longer growing seasons tend to come with terrible soil. Like, truly terrible soil. We all joke in the wine industry that bad soil makes for better wine, but if you go to large parts of Monterey, or in this part, kind of in the valley San Luis Obispo County, you get this almost sand-like stuff where you’re comfortable walking around in flip-flops. It’s some place that you don’t want to grow a vegetable garden, but that they grow wine grapes. And that’s kind of the end result.
So, in any case, this is Last Summer Grenache, and I think there’s one other point to look at really quickly. Jennifer Bartz, she’s obviously a very, very talented winemaker. Very few people put out Grenache of all varietals and end up with multiple 90-point scores in their first vintages. She has a perspective, and her perspective is worth telling.
This is kind of one of the problems with the industry as it stands right now, is there’s often too many people that look like me that are making wine, around my age, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We need more younger winemakers. We need more female winemakers of all ages. The Central Coast has long been home to the largest female winemaking population in the United States. About 25% of winemakers on the Central Coast are women. The state as a whole, it’s about 10%. Oregon does a little bit better in that regard. I believe Washington does a little bit worse, but it’s about 10%.
A lot of winemaking programs are now, like most college programs of any type outside of the hard-core engineering and sciences, two-thirds women on average. And those jobs will eventually trickle down into smaller wineries like this, but in reality what happens is that if you go to Davis and you get a viticulture degree, you get a job with a standard paycheck and health insurance and the whole nine yards. You’re not doing what she’s doing here, which is building something on your own. Because you don’t have to. You can get a job at a real winery that already exists and has probably existed for a long time.
So, in any case Last Summer Grenache, I really, really love this wine. This is kind of something that we would serve at Easter or at Christmas, and it pairs well with a lot of stuff. You can almost think of this as a Pinot, in terms of what you can pair it with. And that’s a pretty good approximation.
So, in any case, if you are a Special Selections Wine member, I am sure you are going to enjoy this. This is one of our few wines that we’ll probably do that we did in the ’15 vintage and the ’16, and so there’s probably more to come from Jennifer, too, over time.