Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Washington Grenache v. Cannonau di Sardegna

The 100th Edition of the Giro d' Italia kicked off Friday May 5th on the island of Sardegna (or as we say in the states, Saridinia).  The first three stages featured some exciting racing with some unexpected results in the opening stage and stage 3.

The racers are already enjoying their first rest day on Monday as the race moves to Sicily for an early test of the climbers legs on Mt Etna.  Mt. Etna may be more famous for volcanic eruptions than bike racing.  The Giro organizers are always looking to inject excitement into the race.  Maybe they are hoping for an eruption while the racers scale this active volcano!

This week's Lucha Vino matchup features a Washington Grenache taking on a Cannonau challenger from Sardegna.

2013 Novelty Hill Grenache vs. 2012 Gabbas LiLLove' Cannonau di Sardegna

Tale of the Tape

2013 Novelty Hill Grenache

100% Grenache from the Stillwater Creek Vineyard

Aged for 21 months in 74% French and 26% American Oak barrels with 42% new and 58% used.

Purchased for $23.99 at Esquin.

2012 Gabbas LilLove' Cannonau di Sardegna
Winery details (English)

90% Cannonau (Grenache) with 10% other local varietals

Sourced from vineyards in the hills of Oliena in the Province of Nuoro

Purchased for $19.99 at Esquin.

Round 1.  First Opening

The Gabbas Italian Challenger bursts into the ring with a nose that features raspberry, earthy funk and light candle wax undertones.  The palate is showing notes of strawberries, raspberries, and earthy cracked pepper that carries on to the finish.

The Novelty Hill Luchador fights back with a smooth and bold attack.  The nose starts with notes of logan berry and menthol spices followed by slight vanilla cream.  The palate matches the nose with dark raspberry, dry spices and some vanilla notes followed by a dry white pepper finish. 

This round was close.  After some deliberation, the judges give the points to Novelty Hill.

Round 2.  One hour after opening 

The Gabbas is getting sassy in the second round with a nose of darker toasty berries, marshmallow and light dusty coffee bean notes.  The palate is more savory with raspberry, savory paprika and more pronounced earthy cracked pepper. 

Novelty Hill is bulking up and counter-attacking with a nose featuring strawberries, raspberries, dusty spices and some orange peel.  The palate is a bit darker with notes of raspberry, earth tones and cracked pepper that lingers on to the finish. 

Novelty Hill is putting its stamp on this match, taking round 2 and a commanding 2-0 lead.

Round 3.  One day after opening

The Gabbas Grapler is showing some Luchador veteran savvy, switching up and evolving to find a new approach in hopes of securing a stunning victory.  The nose is showing dried herbs and strawberry, light white pepper and some earthy funky sandalwood notes.  The palate has also evolved to show dry red berries, tart herbal spices, and a hint of smokiness with a dry fine tannin finish. 

Novelty Hill looks stunned for a moment.  After regrouping, the Washington State Luchador gets spicy and gets up in the Italian challenger's grill.  The nose shows raspberry, menthol spices, cinnamon red hots and candle wax.  The palate is getting darker with notes of raspberry, dark cherry, tart baking spices, a touch of earthiness that gives way to a dry slightly peppery finish.

The Sardegna challenger put up a solid fight, but in the end the Novelty Hill Grenache took all three rounds and the victory!

Wrap up and overall observations

Both of these wines showed excellent value at the 20 dollar-ish price point.  The island of Sardegna looks like an interesting place to visit and to ride your bike.  I plan to continue to virtually explore the island by sampling their wines!  The Gabbas combined nice touches of earthiness, medium red berries along with hints of pepper.

The Novelty Hill hales from one of my favorite vineyards in Washington, Stillwater Creek.  You will be rewarded by seeking out this Grenache and other red varieties from Stillwater Creek.

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