Very healthy (for Grenache) bright ruby red color, with nary a sign of brown at the rim. Nose dominated by notes of autumnal spice – cloves, allspice, star anise and hints of sandalwood or another candle scent one might find in the boudoir of an aging hippie. In addition there are the reliably Grenache-y tones – strawberry/rhubarb and peach, with some suggestion of citrus. There is a definitely discernible characteristic of menthol or peppermint, which builds in intensity as the wine becomes saturated with oxygen. (I put this down to the partial inclusion of stems.) Very good volume on the palate: the wine seems to expand with exposure to air in the way that inspirational Pinot/Burgundy sometimes does. Definite tannic backbone to the wine, presaging a good long life, with enough sunny fruit to minimize the likelihood of a sere and crabby old age.
Rancho Réal is one of the coolest sites where vines are successfully grown in California. Overall, 2021 was an excellent vintage in the Central Coast with no major weather events. While we did not have the opportunity to air-dry the grapes post-harvest, the ’21 vintage was harvested a bit later than the ’20 and as such, is a slightly more intense and concentrated wine, requiring perhaps a longer tenure in the cellar to come to optimal expression.