The Grenache Skirmish #2 was a repeat of the December 2005 tasting, featuring only bottles of Grenache from Australia.
The top two wines this time were the most expensive of the night, but not so expensive that they would be out of reach of mere mortals. They shared a dark profile, with solid structure that kept them from being flabby or fatiguing, and both had interesting, lengthy finishes.
Notably, all but one of the entries were from the McLaren Vale.
Thanks to David Dadekian and his wife Brenda for sharing their comments about this group of wines.
First Place: Tir Na N'og Grenache Old Vines 2006 (McLaren Vale). Sounding Irish, but definitely Australian, this exhibited dark aromatics that reminded tasters of barnyard, cedar, and dried herbs (perhaps basil). Ali noted "nice dust". Tasted rich in mouth, and a little more tannic, with plenty of fruit and bacon notes. Ali felt that it was "like a fruity cab". Licorice on long finish. Brenda, David D, and Ali's favorite of the night. The name means "land of the youth". Received 30 points. Kristin's bottle. About $33.
Second Place: S.C. Pannell Grenache 2004 (McLaren Vale). The nose presented a darker, mysterious profile, with hints of prunes. Ali found "public restroom", and Andy noted "wood glue". Licorice, dark ripe fruit, and charcoal flavors. Had notable structure and acidity. Brenda felt that the spicy sopressata and this wine engaged in a "spice fight". Finished long. David H, Andy, and Kristin's favorite of the night. Received 27 points. David H's bottle. About $40.
Third Place: Yangarra Grenache Old Vine Single Vineyard 2005 (McLaren Vale). Smoky, spicy scents, along with acetone, white pepper, ripe plum, and cherry cough syrup. Super-ripe in the mouth, with cherry and vanilla flavors that David D felt were "like cherry juice". Not very complex, and showing cranberry juice on finish. Brenda noted that it tasted lighter than it looks. Straight and to the point. Received 13 points. Brenda's bottle. About $18.
Yalumba Grenache Bush Vine 2008 (Barossa). Reminiscent of rubber, burnt cinder, artificial flavoring, charcoal, black cherry cola, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom. Tasted flat, with cola flavors that were described as "dead". Ali said, "Ew, that finish is awful. Just died, like road-kill." Received 9 points. Ali's bottle. About $18.
D'arenberg Grenache The Custodian 2007 (McLaren Vale). Aromas of flour, baking soda, lemon zest, and something bright and alkaline. Tasters noted sandpaper on the palate, with a gritty chalkiness, or misguided effervesce. Ali said, "Only attack, and the attack is kind of awkward." Received 4 points. David D's bottle. About $22.
Marquis Phillips Grenache 2008 (McLaren Vale). A floral nose, with tomato skins, honey, and spring flowers. Smelled more like a Pinot Noir. Tasters noted "spring in a glass". Super-sweet in the mouth, with a syrupy quality, not unlike honey. Strawberry flavors were warm going down. Tasters felt you could "pour it on a waffle", like "liquid agave". No finish. Received 1 point from Andy. Andy's bottle. About $16.