Grenache 2009, Larner Vineyard
Santa Ynez Valley
Larry Schaffer, the dynamic, energetic, and very passionate owner/winemaker of Tercero, left a successful career in publishing to complete a Masters Degree in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. I first met Larry, very briefly when he was still at UCD, at a wine tasting organized by Darrell Corti. Years later I became acquainted with his wines, and Biba and I enjoyed his wines at The Garagiste Festival held in Solvang in February 2013. Larry worked as Enologist and Assistant Winemaker at Fess Parker for a number of years and established the Tercero brand in 2006 concentrating on red and white Rhone varietals. As his case production is about 1500 annually, he can properly be called an artisan winemaker, or a "Garagiste". He, and a handful of other talented winemakers, are proving to the world that Grenache has found a home in California. You may ask, why the name Tercero? Well, tercero means third in Spanish, and Larry is the third child in the family, has three children of his own, and his dorm complex at UC Davis was named Tercero. There you have it.
The 2009 Larner Vineyard Tercero Grenache, deeply colored, rich, and moderate to full-bodied, is 100% Grenache (about 50% destemmed), and, in my opinion, is still a young wine. A dark berry fruit flavor predominates with a hint of spices and herbs followed by a lush mouthfeel, firm but tame tannins, and a nice touch of acidity on the finish. As is our custom, we recently enjoyed a bottle with ricotta gnocchi in a light tomato sauce, followed by veal cutlets alla Milanese. Perhaps not the typical food-wine pairing one might expect, but it was perfect...and who cares? We did decant the wine and it continued to evolve during the evening. I expect we can enjoy this wine for several more years.
For the entire month of April 2014 we are offering the 2009 Larner Vineyard Tercero Grenache at the reduced price of $40 per 750 ml bottle and at $10 per glass. Try it.
If you are in the Santa Barbara County wine region, a visit to Los Olivos is a must. Be sure to check out the Tercero Tasting Room at 2445 Alamo Pintado Avenue, #104, Los Olivos, CA 93441, and open Friday through Mo