Thursday, September 22, 2011


Curran Grenache Blanc

In Southern California, there is an embarrassment of riches where wine is concerned.   Beautiful wine country, vineyards and rustic wineries are never very far away, in any direction.  Living just a two-and-a-half hour drive away from the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara has helped me fall in love with the wines of this region over and over again.

Winemaker Kris Curran is half of the D’Alfonso-Curran label.  Bruno D’Alfonso makes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while Curran makes her own wines of several European varieties.

The team makes wine near Lompoc and the tasting room is in Solvang, but the grapes for Curran’s Grenache Blanc are sourced from the warm eastern side of the Santa Ynez Valley.  The grapes were whole cluster pressed, giving the wine an amazing herbal quality.  The alcohol content is a hefty 14.1%, and the bottle cost $19 at a Manhattan Beach wine store.

The Curran Grenache Blanc is a pale golden color in the glass.  It has a most interesting and aromatic nose, showing the smell of apricot and melon covered with an herbal component, like fresh snap peas or cauliflower.  There is also some wet hay in the bouquet.  More than a hint of alcohol sneaks into the aromas at first, but that diminishes over time.

Full and rather oily in the mouth, the palate displays peach and apricot flavors which are met with a sense of almond paste and a hint of straw.  Minerals are clearly present, while a tropical guava note persists into the lengthy finish.  I love the way the almost-creamy mouthfeel gives way to a strident acidity on the finish.  Malolactic fermentation was inhibited during the creation of this wine, making its fullness somewhat a s
urprise.  It’s rather like a magic trick, a rewarding one.

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