I recently had the pleasure of visiting Cedarville Vineyard and chatting with owner/winemaker Jonathan Lachs about grape growing and winemaking El Dorado County, California ~ which, along with neighboring Amador County, is an emerging wine region in the Sierra Foothills worthy of a wine lover’s attention. The high elevation of the winery and estate vineyard ~ situated at 2,500 feet above sea level (among California’s highest) ~ and porous, decomposed granite soils lend a truly special character to Jonathan’s wines. His 2008 Grenache is a case in point: it offers aromas of dark chocolate covered strawberries and sandalwood followed by bright, balanced flavors of brandied black cherries, cinnamon stick, and slightly toasty oak ~ all framed by tinges of mineral that reflect the area’s rocky soils. It’s expressively aromatic, richly flavorful, medium-bodied, and versatile enough to be enjoyed with or without food. It would pair nicely with grilled meats or fish, or tomato-based pasta dishes. Grenache, as you may know, is a traditional red blending variety in France’s Rhone Valley (where, in the southern reaches of the region, it’s typically blended with Syrah and Mourvedre ~ sometimes with a dollop of Viognier), but in Jonathan’s deft hands it stands proudly (and deliciously) as single varietal red wine. Jonathan does, I should note, blend a bit of Syrah into his Grenache ~ 15% in this vintage, which deepens its dimensions.
Availability: Jonathan produced only 170 cases of his 2008 Grenache (and that’s about all he produces in any given vintage), so you’re likely not going to find it in a wine shop. You can, however, order this or newer vintages through his website at www.cedarvillevineyard.com. Pay Cedarville Vineyard a visit online to check out this Grenache and Jonathan’s other selections.