As the USA Grenache Ambassador for the Grenache Association I take my Grenache very seriously. In 2014 I made a 100 percent Grenache wine from the 2013 vintage with Doug Margerum under the Comunicano Wine Company label dubbed the "Ambassadors Blend." It was a Californian's take on the Rhone Valley's best known region for Grenache, Chateauneuf du Pape.
The wine stylistically was conjured up to be in the vein of the famed Chateau Reyas, as the bouquet reminded both Doug and I of that, and the body was silky and sexy. So while it's evolved nicely, I know it never will be Reyas, but it has become one very smooth tasting red wine that keeps getting better with age.
Last night I decided to have a glass of the 2016 Shatter Grenache, made by another Califironian, Joel Gott,with some support from Davis Phinney. Phinney is best known for The Prisoner, D66 and other red wines. The Shatter hails from the Maury France, a stony, desolate, almost lunar landscape area just outside of the town of Perpignan in the Roussillion Valley. The top producer there is Clos de Fees, made by Herve Bizeul, whose wines are epic for their long aging ability, and absolute dense fruit structure that combines elegant power with graceful delivery. His wines are easily on par with the great Super Non-Conformers like Trevallon, Chene Bleu, Granges des Pares, Mas de Gassac and Gourt de Mautens. But the Shatter is not meant to be in the same league as Clos des Fees, but it sure comes close.
The Shatter is 100 percent Grenache, with the grapes coming from vineyards that are more than 60 years old. It has an inky, dark purple color, and a gorgeous red raspberry bouquet. It's tasty, smooth and long. It has structure, balance and depth. As it opens it offers up a nice plum and cherry flavor with black tea and a bit of dusty tar.
Shatter, like it's sibling D66, which is no longer in production it seems, is one of those "wine list" gems I like to find. You should seek it out and enjoy it too.