Had a couple from our local Wine Society over last evening. It was a typical warm evening and thought a nice rosé would be appropriate. Had recently done a story on 2020 Wood Family Rosé called the Pearl produced from Grenache grapes. (Read the story at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2016/02/10/wood-family-vineyards-2/ ).
As I was pulling this out of the cellar, thought about a wonderful Grenache that has made my “Best of the Year” wines for the last two years. Grabbed a bottle of 2016 Zuidema Grenache to see similarities in the grape essential characteristics and profile while being produced entirely different.
Review of Wood Family Vineyards Rosé Pearl
Let me begin by saying that the color was extremely eye catching with its uniqueness. It is somewhere between salmon and copper color with light viscosity. On the nose, a strong floral characteristic came forth but we could not initially determine a specific flower. Rhonda in her description calls it a “delicate rosé”. In the mouth is where this wine shone brightly with spices and stone fruit. What stood out was the dryness of the wine, with no sweetness, and tastes of a refined new world Grenache. The finish revealed a spiced apple flavor, minerality and then just a modicum of sweetness.
The acidity was almost not present, but an underlying structure was apparent! Rhonda purposed to pick the grapes in the cool night, then go directly to a gentle press with whole clusters. The wine is allowed to ferment slowly in a cool temperature in stainless steel tanks.
Review of Zuidema Grenache
This is his third release of Grenache which combines delicate finesse with the subtle power of Grenache. Rudy describes it as “the aromas are made up of white pepper, bright rhubarb, strawberry and blood orange peel. The bright acidity in the mid palate bursts with mixed berries, holiday spice and layers of anise and tarragon”. Even the finish gives a hint of the Old World with it being rustic and not perfectly polished. The color being ruby to brick red, with cranberry fruit, having a spicy oak flavoring, yet showing the minerality of dry farming. Minerality and a rustic flare still persists in the wine, but the 2016 is aromatic with black cherry and as Rudy states “notes of cocoa and fig newton”. Add to this plum and soft tannins it surrounds the spicy edginess of the wine. Rudy’s Clone 515 Grenache from Chateauneuf du Pape heritage continues to produce a delightful summer and fall wine. (More on Rudy can be found at: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2019/09/23/rudy-zuidema-a-look-at-the-extraordinary-winemaker-golfer-husband-father/ )
Both wines were extremely enjoyable and spot on for a warm summer evening.