2014 Cinsaut Counoise
90 points, Wine Review Online
“When Randall Grahm starts tinkering with blends, the likelihood of something worthy coming out of the proceedings is high, and this time a clear experiment makes it to market in this bottle, that's not just a blend of less familiar grapes, but from vineyards in Paso Robles, Mendocino and Lodi. It's quite interesting and elegant, with rich forest floor and soft red fruit that's more strawberry than cherry -- it's long and complex in a different but very pleasant way. A blind tasting bonanza wine!"
Restocked - We found 6 cases in our cellar!
This is a very unusual wine, perhaps not for everyone, but when we finally came upon the final formulation of the blend, a sort of deep convulsion of joy and recognition coursed through our office. I can only describe the sensation provoked by this wine as one of great resonance. This wine delights in a way similar to the Pinot (cf. infra); there is a weightless elegance coupled with a bracing, almost Alpine mentholated fragrance – heady indeed. The distinctly exotic, wild fragrance of the wine – its suggestion of seemingly high-altitude sous-bois almost certainly derives from the near-feral aspect of Counoise, coupled with the captivating aroma of wild cherry eau-de-vie and fraises de bois from the Cinsaut.
90 POINTS, PLANET GRAPE: “Weird and wacky Rhone blend with notes of earth, cured meats, sea spray, wild berries and red plum."
Food Pairing Notes
I may be taking this conversation into a slightly surrealistic direction but I can imagine this wine pairing very well with a range of spicy Moroccan or Mexican dishes, inclusive of mole. Should also work extremely well with any range of game birds – the wine itself is ready for take-off – and maybe some spicier fish preparations, viz. a snapper Vera Cruz. Other ideas include Poulet Basquaise (Basque chicken), duck confit (rare, of course) with crispy skin, mildly-spiced Tandoori chicken, grilled eggplant finished with old balsamico.