Randall Grahm is known more for his Rhône varietal wines - he is, ya know, the original Rhône Ranger - but he does a great job with any grape he chooses to crush. He shows his minimal-intervention winemaking skills here with The Wine Formerly Known as Clos de Gilroy - TWFKaCdG. It's still actually still known as Clos de Gilroy, since the lettering on the label for the other part is in small, scripted font and rather hard to read.
Clos de Gilroy offers a tip of the winemaker hat to the town of Gilroy, CA, known more for its smells than its sights. Gilroy is the scene of the annual garlic festival, owing to its prodigious garlic crop. They also grow a lot of mushrooms there, but you wouldn't know it from the smell. It is not, however, the source of the grapes - hence the TWFKaCdG tag. Clos de Greenfield simply didn’t have the requisite ring to it.
On the label, Clos de Gilroy is denoted with the inscription, "Le Gil des Rois, Le Roi des Gils." My high school French tells me that means "the Gil of kings, the king of Gils," but I cannot stand behind that translation. I was a C-student in foreign languages.
|Gilroy is here.|
The wine is made from 84% Grenache grapes - from the biodynamically-farmed Alta Loma Vineyard in the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County - along with 11.5% Santa Maria Valley Syrah and 4.5% old-vine Mourvèdre grapes from the Sacramento Delta.
Grahm says the 2012 Grenache crop was surprising for its quality and quantity. He intended these grapes for his Le Cigare Volant wine, but they ended up here instead.
This fresh red sees no wood at all, 1,444 cases were produced, and it sells at retail for $18. Alcohol ticks the abv meter at 14.4% and the wine comes bottled under a screw cap.
Grahm's label notes say that the "Grenache's exceptionally lovely strawberry-rhubarbarity is complemented by delicate notes of raspberry, kirsch, red currant and white pepper." He recommends pairing with anything garlicky.
The Gil - pardon my familiarity - is a fresh tasting wine with lovely red fruit oozing from its little red molecules. The bouquet comes on a little tart - must be the "rhubarbarity" - but carries strawberry, cherry and a nice herbal note with it. Great acidity and a cherry flavor on the palate set the table for a wonderful and long finish.
The Clos de Gilroy takes a chill well, if you need it to. In fact, after some time open and a little cooling, it takes on a grapey atmosphere and reminds me quite a bit of a Beaujolais or even a Lambrusco. If there's still a balmy evening remaining where you are, keep that in mind.