Winery: Graves Winegrowers
Bottling: 2007 Graves “Monkey Wrench” Grenache Blanc
Sub-Region: Paso Robles
Estimated Retail Price: $22 – $25
Purchase Details/Tasting Source: I’ve had this wine on several occasions at Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar, which if you haven’t noticed by now, is where we’ve been able to discover new wines through their ever evolving by-the-glass selections.
Tasting Notes: What a lively and unique wine. I love aromatic whites like gewurztraminer, viognier and grenache blanc. I love them for their uplifting and entrancing smells and I especially love them for their ability to always make the uninitiated say “wow!”
The Graves Monkey Wrench is no exception. Very pretty floral aromas that float out of the glass. I smelled a lot of citrus smells as well as a hint of ginger and pikake (Hawaiian climbing jasmine plant noted for its fragrant flowers). Historically, grenache blanc has been widely grown in Spain and France. Only a smidgen currently exists in California.
In the mouth were flavors of tangerine and apple as well as some mineral influence. I felt like you never really noticed an obvious acidic component in the wine, but you just knew there was one, because of the refreshed feeling your palate received after every sip. The texture was beautiful too as it was sort of a combination of juicy and silky. Jilky or suicy? How about well-integrated? Overall, great balance.
Food and Context in Which to Enjoy: Hot summer days for sure or as a pre-dinner palate waker upper. This is a wine that would be perfect for people always looking for “off the beaten path” varietals. As for food pairings, I’d be happy having this wine without any food at all. It has tons of complexity and an independent personality that doesn’t require the company of food.
Winery Background: This is a true artisan family winery built from the ground up. In fact, Hilary was 5 months pregnant when the vines were first planted in 2002. A little over 1,000 cases spread across four or five wines are produced. If I remember right, Hilary and Simon Graves bought the land for their vineyards in 1999, while they were both still in school studying viticulture and enology.
They are completely hands on when it comes to farming their vineyard, but hands-off when making their wine. Although their operations are not certified organic, they do farm organically. I’ve tried their syrah as well as their traditional syrah, grenache, mourvedre blend called Rock Candy and have been very impressed. Their wines have uniquness and personality. They are truly the type of operation that makes you feel good about buying their wines and supporting their brand.