The most widely-planted grape in the Rhône region of France, Grenache brings to mind a slightly bigger, spicier Pinot Noir. While it can pair with many of the same foods one would enjoy with a glass of Pinot Noir and appeal to those also looking for a lighter, more delicate red varietal, Grenache has its own character, with spun sugar on the nose and dark cherry on the palate.
A plump, late harvest grape often utilized by winemakers in small quantities in red blends that require just a touch of earthiness, spice, body and structure. With subtle notes of blueberry and blackberry, Mourvedre is always welcome without overstepping its bounds in the presence of grapes with bigger and more complex flavors.
Originated in Spain and later became popular in France, where it is a staple in the world-renowned Rhône blends and Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines. Great texture, full body and lovely aromatics. Its rich, nutty, nutmeg-and-cinnamon spice notes also make it the ideal white wine for both spring and fall.
Sometimes known as a “red wine drinker’s white wine,” Viognier brings a big but pleasant mouthfeel along with sweetness that belies its overall dry character.
Counoise is a dark-skinned-grape Rhône variety. As a vine, Counoise is low-yielding and late-ripening, which means it offers more in terms of quality, rather than quantity. It is often described as a peppery and spicy grape variety, but it also adds much in the way of plum and wild berry (strawberry and raspberry) flavors.
Cinsault delivers fresh, punchy reds that are just as floral as they are fruity. Its hue ranges from rose petal to salmon, coral and bright red.
A primary blending grape in white Rhône blends that also include Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and sometimes Viognier. A great alternative to Chardonnay. Marsanne produces deeply colored wines that are rich and nutty, with hints of spice and pear.
Picpoul Blanc may not be as well known as the other Rhône varieties, but we are excited about its future in California. Its name literally translates to “stings the lips” due to its sharp acidity. Though it is used primarily as a blending grape for just that acidity, it makes a gorgeous single variety wine, often producing lush tropical aromas.