Monday, June 24, 2013

Groundwork Grenache Blanc From Paso Robles

Dinner with friends in Manhattan Beach at Chez Soi was a very good experience for three reasons.  First, the good friends with whom we shared our evening are always a blast.  Second, the food and wine at Chez Soi are first rate.  Third, it was a pleasure to be able to hear our conversations at the table.  Chez Soi does not go in for the current restaurant trend of turning the music up to eleven.  The menu by executive chef Mark Gold (formerly of Eva) is small and focused.  The wine list stretches out a bit and has some very interesting offerings.

One of them is the Groundwork Grenache Blanc 2012.  An $11 selection by the glass, this wine is really worth writing home about.  From Sans Liege winemaker Curt Schalchlin, this project shouldn’t stay on the side.  It’s ready for prime time.  The wine retails for $16 - that’s an incredible price for such a great wine.

Made from grapes sourced in Paso Robles’ El Pomar District - Beato, Kopack and Last Frontier Vineyards - the wine keeps the alcohol reasonable at 13.8% abv.  It’s aged in stainless steel for five months and is bottled under a screwcap.

The first thing is obvious - this wine has beautiful color, tinged with golden copper.  One sniff confirms it has a nose that lives up to expectations.  The floral and herbal bouquet is quite expressive, while the touch of citrus peel invites a food pairing.  The palate shows plenty of the minerals one expects in a Paso white.  The acidity is racy and fresh.

I had two tentacles of grilled octopus with the Groundwork Grenache Blanc, and it couldn’t have been a better pairing.  The acidity and mineral profile will no doubt make it a great wine to pair with many different foods.

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