I can’t stop loving you, Grenache Blanc!
This is probably my current favorite white wine (maybe even my favorite wine, period, for the moment). California winemakers realized about a decade ago that Grenache Blanc, generally reserved for Rhone blends, has the potential to be a blockbuster of a single varietal, and are now producing some truly outstanding wines from that grape.
I’ve remarked before that Grenache Blanc is the white wine that thinks it’s really a red wine–which may be why I love it so much–but that’s in reality very likely because it’s considered a mutation of the red Grenache grape. In the right hands (both grower and winemaker), it makes for big flavor with huge body–all in amazing balance.
One of the best Grenache Blanc producers in the state (and elsewhere, as far as I’m concerned) is Kris Curran of D’Alfonso-Curran wines in the Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County.
Her Grenache Blanc is a perfect summer wine, with BIG fruit and perfectly balanced acids. Bone-dry, but incredibly rich. There’s tart green apple and spice on the nose, and an explosion of tropical fruit (guava, pineapple) on the palate, with a bit of wet rock to give a touch of minerality. It’s a very food-friendly wine, but also drinks just fine all by itself. $28/bottle, which is a bit spendy for my weeknight wines, but since I picked up a case with a hefty club-member discount (you like wine clubs? be in this wine club!), the bottle price was knocked down to $14 (did I mention you should maybe join their wine club?).
Editor’s note: The Weeknight Wine series will spotlight 1-2 wines each week that are great in quality but won’t break the bank.