Spotlight on Grenache from Larner Vineyard with Matt Brady

Featured Wine: Larner Vineyard Grenache - SAMsARA Wine Co.
I’ve been making Grenache out of the same little section at Larner Vineyard since 2009, so I’ve have 10 vintages under my belt and I feel like I’m really starting to figure it out. Ha ha!

The Larner Vineyard consistently produces really high quality fruit every year. The sandy soils are really nice for limiting vigor, so we don’t ever get a really heavy crop. Every year we seem to get a very balanced crop full of expressive concentrated flavors and aromatics. In a review of Larner wines, Robert Parker was quoted as saying something like, “If there was a Grand Cru classification system in California like there is in France, Larner Vineyard would certainly be among the Grand Crus.” And I too believe Larner is one of the most special vineyards in Santa Barbara County.

Because we are down to our last few cases of 2013 and 2014 Grenache from Larner Vineyard, we wanted to feature them in this news post. Our 2013 and 2014 Grenaches from Larner Vineyard are both really exceptional. Most interestingly, the wines from each year are really different from each other, so it is hard to talk about them together and say anything that makes sense!

In 2013 the warmth and the intensity of the weather that year really show through the wine, with bigger, darker wine that is really structured. To be honest, when the 2013 Grenache wine was first released, I wasn’t necessarily the biggest fan of the vintage because it was almost overpowering. But one of the things I’ve recognized since is that even though it was a really powerful wine, everything was in perfect balance. There was a lot of fruit, a lot of tannins, and lot of flavor concentration, and those are the ingredients for really cellar worthy wines with lots of longevity. So, right now, the 2013 Larner Grenache has been in bottle for 5 years and it is really hitting its stride. The wine is beautifully balanced, really expressive, with a soft, generous mouth coating feel. It is interesting that two warm, dry years produced such different wines.

The 2014 Larner Grenache has more of that juicy, fresh, crunchy fruit flavors when compared to the dark fruit flavor and big mouth feel of the 2013. The 2014 is juicy, fresh, bright, with more red fruit than dark, but with really tremendous flavor concentration and intensity and with that signature SAMsARA mouthfeel that the Larner Grenache is particularly good at demonstrating. The 2014 Larner Grenache has mouth coating, seamless, sexy gorgeous texture, that makes you want to come back for another sip.

– Matt Brady (Winemaker)

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