When I find a versatile white wine like the Groundwork Grenache Blanc that challenges how committed wine-drinkers view an unknown grape, I think it’s write worthy.
The new year demands change and a willingness to be open to new experiences. Even if you’re not a self described adrenaline junkie, you can benefit from being a bit more daring. Next time the bartender asks, “What will you have?”, say with confidence, “Bartender’s choice.” The next question usually has to do with what kind of spirit you prefer — whiskey, vodka, gin, what have you. Keep answering the questions and enjoy the ride.
Another way to go about this exercise is do something I did recently at The Raven Cafe in Prescott, Arizona. It is a hippie place right off the old town square with live music, creative food and a blackboard of rotating wines by the glass. I looked the woman behind the register straight in the eye and said, “I’d like a glass of wine. What’s weird and cool right now?” She smiled and bubbled up with “The Grenache Blanc!”
The 2016 Groundwork Grenache Blanc from California’s Central Coast was so good that one glass led to a bottle.
Let me redeem myself. Four other adults were with me and they all thought the Grenache Blanc was lip smacking perfect for a pre-dinner drink. They were not all wine-drinkers, per se. My companions were a blend of a Whiskey Sour drinker, a man’s man who sticks to Coors Original, a Sauvignon Blanc lover and my father-in-law — who’s just happy to be there. This white wine’s versatility is what makes it especially worthy to write about.
When I returned to Colorado, I was on the hunt for my new weird and cool Grenache Blanc from Groundwork. Sans Liege produces the Groundwork line of wines from select vineyards ranging from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles. You can find Sans Liege’s Rhone blends, as well as the Groundwork line of single Rhone varietal wines.
I found the 2015, one vintage older, Groundwork Grenache Blanc at my local liquor store and bought every bottle on the shelf. When I served it to an exclusively Chardonnay-drinker, she came back for a second glass with a smile.
This is a wine that satisfies a range of white wine drinkers, gets people’s attention, delivers on price ($16) and has a back label that’s a great conversation starter.
Stephanie Davis is a Certified Wine Educator (CWE), Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Certified Advanced Level III, a French Wine Scholar (FWS), and Level 2 Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Follow Stephanie on Twitter @thewineheroine. Tune in to Stephanie’s weekly podcast on iTunes, Wine Two Five.