Strawberry Fields Forever. My first thought was that I fell into a Strawberry patch. That was my feeling when I took my opening whiff of the the new 2018 Kaeana Grenache Rose made by Mikael Sigouin. Here's a Rose made in Santa Barbara County that could be easily dropped into a blind tasting and easily mistaken for one from Tavel.
Sigouin is one of the Grenache masters in Santa Ynez Valley. He really understands the grape and how to get the most out of it, and he always has. He, Lindquist Family Wine's Bob Lindquist during his ownership of Qupe, son Ethan with Ethan Wines and Core Wine's David Corey have for years been at the forefront of pursuing greatness from the red grape as has pal Doug Margerum of Margerum Wine Company. More recently winemakers Angela Osbourne, with A Tribute to Grace, Jeff Fischer of Habit and Larry Schaeffer of Tercero and a few others have been turning attention the Grenache grape as well, further underscoring why Grenache and Santa Barbara County are really so sympatico in the USA.
The 2018 Kaena Grenache Rose release, which follows upon the success of the 2016 and 2017's may be the best Rose ever to come out of Kaena as beyond the strawberry patch aromas comes both strawberry and blackberry fruit in a very easy to drink dry and crisp style. What makes this wine so great is how well it can complement many foods. I had it with a pizza that was covered in hot cherry peppers, herbs, and mushrooms. Given how Grenache has a bit of a spice, that's all so nice, it was a perfect test.
And the Kaena Rose really stood up to it. While the wine has only been in the bottle a few months, and there's always a precocious nature to a fresh bottle at that young age, the Kaena 2018 Grenache Rose is clearly going to be one of the better Rose's this year to grace my table.
Sigouin also gets credit for labeling the wine as a "Grenache Rose" versus just as Rose. The Grenache grape, which is rapidly becoming one of the most widely planted grapes in Calfornia is at the core of so many famous Rose wines these days. By doing that he's amplifying the importance of the grape in the world of Rose.