Winery: Avensole Winery
Product/Varietal: 100% Grenache
AVA on Bottle: Temecula Valley
How They Describe It
An exquisite nod to Châteauneuf-du-Pape; our 100% Grenache was fermented in stainless steel, offering bright, sweet cherry fruit along with hints of raspberry and cranberry, and a light crisp finish. This is a delightful red — perfect to enjoy anytime.
How I Describe It
Pale but brilliant ruby red. There is almost an incandescence behind the Avensole 2018 Grenache’s hue.
Aromas in the Avensole 2018 Grenache are fairly light, but don’t mistake that for a lack of flavor. Strawberry and cherry are the most noticeable, as well as a little marshmallow taffy.
The palate is where the Avensole 2018 Grenache really shines. Caramelized strawberry and a hint of toasted marshmallow are joined by Rainier cherries and plump, juicy raspberry. An incredibly subtle leafiness adds some sophistication on top of the wine’s fruit-forward characteristics.
This is a dry wine, and at 14.2% ABV has high alcohol, though pretty average for Grenache and similar Rhône and Spanish varietals. Because of the stainless steel aging, tannins are low. Interestingly, this wine has medium-plus acid — a step higher than most Grenache wines. This was a very smart choice on part of the winemaking team. The tartness prevents the wine from being monotone and jammy, and makes more subtle, delicate flavors easier to taste. Acid and alcohol help magnify the flavors, giving the Avensole 2018 Grenache medium-plus intensity, a medium finish, and a pleasant medium body.
Why is This Wine Special?
Grenache is one of those grape varietals which is both incredibly versatile and which does incredibly well in the Temecula Valley AVA.
Unless you avoid exploring different varietals and blends, you’ve likely enjoyed a number of Grenache-based wines. In Temecula alone you can find nearly half a dozen manifestations. For instance, the “G” in GSM stands for Grenache; Grenache Rosé features bright combinations of red berry and citrus; Grenache wine produced with carbonic maceration adds distinct bubble gum notes; and when made in the Spanish “Garnacha” style, it often incorporates flavorful oak elements.
The Avensole 2018 Grenache is a call-out to the style traditionally found in Grenache-based Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, from the Southern Rhône in France. In that part of the world, Grenache’s natural fruitiness is preserved by aging in either cement of steel tanks, rather than oak.
Grenache also has a trademark “candied fruit roll-up” flavor, which shows up in Avensole’s bottle as the toasted strawberry. Such a rich flavor, when unbalanced and combined with the viscosity of higher alcohol, can come across as jammy and overpower more subtle flavors. I’m impressed with how Avensole kept the acid level slightly higher, giving the wine more fruit-forward crispness instead.
All together, this is a delightfully balanced wine. I would call the Avensole 2018 Grenache “easy drinking”, but there’s more to it than that. It checks off all the correct boxes. This isn’t a wine meant for aging, but it was never designed for that. It’s layered without being overly complex. It’s fruity without being jammy. And it showcases exactly what Grenache fruit is best known for.
When & How I Would Drink It
If you were asked to supply wine for a dinner party, and want something which (1) everyone can enjoy, (2) goes well with many types of foods, and (3) emphasizes what is great about the Temecula Valley AVA, the Avensole 2018 Grenache is an excellent option. In fact, this is a wine worth opening for just about any early dinner occasion — especially al fresco on warm summer evenings.
Because there aren’t gripping tannins which need evening out, the 2018 Grenache only needs to breathe about 30 minutes to get the full bouquet from the bottle. And for the same reason, this is a wine which goes well with myriad foods.
For appetizers and first courses, herby pasta salads would pair oustandingly, as would tapenade dips and sauces. And for the main course, miso glazed sea bass and fish stews, as well as roasted or rotisserie chicken, could play well. You could even get away with steak flatbreads or lamb dishes. It’s that versatile.
How to Get It
Bottle Price: $43.95 ($35.16 for wine club members)
Cases Produced: 278 cases
Have you tried the Avensole 2018 Grenache? How did the tasting notes compare with your experience? Leave a comment below.