Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Washington Grenache v. Sardinia

The Giro de Sardegna was supposed to take place this week.  Sadly, the promoters were not able to come up with the funding necessary to remain on the UCI calendar.  This is not the first time that this Italian stage race has been canceled.  The inaugural race was in 1958 running through 1983, followed by an 11 year hiatus, returning for two years before another prolonged vacation until 2009.  Now, once again this race that takes place on the island of Sardinia (Sardegna) is going on hold.

In memory of this race the Lucha Vino challenge will feature a Tenute Dettori Cannonau from Sardinia matched up with a Grenache from Novelty Hill.

Tale of the Tape

Novelty Hill 2008 Grenache

100% Grenache from Novelty Hill's estate Stillwater Creek Vineyard

Aged in 50% new and 50% one-year-old French oak barrels for 18 months.

Purchased from Bin 41 for $28.00

2006 Tenute Dettori Renosu Romangia IGT

100% Cannonau (aka Grenache) from estate vineyards.

Aged in cement vats.

The 2006 was not actually released by the winery.  The wine was sold exclusively through Garagiste since it did not live up to the standards of Alessandro Dettori.

Purchased from Garagiste for $18.90.

Round 1.  First Opening

The Novelty Hill Grenache comes out on fire with a nose of dusty red raspberry and light cracked pepper.  The palate is showing raspberry, creamy clove spices and a tart spicy finish.

The wild man from Sardinia has been released from his cage.  The audience was anticipating something like a Tasmanian Devil.  Instead, they got a cranky old hermit that doesn't have much interest in combat.  The Renosu is showing a nose of cherries,  sour mineral and earthy underbrush.  The palate is similar with notes of cherry and a tart cedar finish.

Novelty Hill easily out points the Italian challenger in round one.

Round 2.  One hour after Opening

The Novelty Hills Grenache is floating on air after gaining significant confidence in round 1.  The nose is showing dark berries and creamy cracked pepper with a palate of creamy dark berries and a slightly tart cracked pepper finish.

The Renosu is still struggling to find its way with a nose of sour cherry, minerals, earth and asphalt with a palate of sour cherry and a tart finish.

The Novelty Hills has a much more refined style than the Renosu.  Taking another round with relative ease.

Round 3. One day after Opening

The Novelty Hills is growing darker and bolder with a nose of creamy dark red berries and hints of all spice.  The palate is full of dark red berries and bolder spices that linger on to the finish.

The Renosu wild man of Sardinia is not taking to this structured life.  The nose is showing character of earth, brambles, underbrush, violets and red fruit.  The palate is still full of sour red berries with some light cedar spices and a tart cherry bark finish.

Novelty Hills takes round three with a flourish finishing off the Wild Man of Sardinia and easily dominating this match from start to finish.

Wrap up and over all observations

This match was not close from the start.  The promoters thought that recruiting an untamed spirit from Sardinia would make for a knock down drag out match.  Instead, they got a completely one sided match with Novelty Hill showing that a Luchador with formal training is really no match for an untamed spirit.

The Renosu never warmed up to the challenge.  I will leave this Luchador to mature in the cellar for another year and try again in 2013.  You never know, 13 could be a lucky number for this untamed spirit from the island of Sardinia.

I give the Novelty Hill an 88 and the Renosu a generous 85 in light of its rustic upbringing.

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