Wine Review – 2005 Ojai Grenache, Santa Barbara, California

Winery: Ojai VineyardOjaiGrenache

Bottling: 2005 Grenache

Region: California

Sub-Region: Santa Barbara

Estimated Retail Price: $35

Purchase Details: Purchased for $56 off the wine menu at Vino Italian Tapas and Wine Bar.

Tasting Notes: This was a grapey, winey, bistro-esque kind of wine if that makes any sense — gulpable, but serious and with some stuffing behind it.  The wines drinkability more than its flavor profile is what allowed it to pair well with the Mediterranean-Italian food on our plates.  Nice, refreshing acid structure and wild berry and plum flavors on the palate.

I was actually pleasantly surprised the femininity and lightness of this wine.  With Ojai, I’ve come to expect wines that are big, opulent and somewhat showey, but this grenache was much more restrained than even some Ojai pinot noirs I’ve had.

Food Pairing & Context in Which to Enjoy: I like domestic grenache with Asian food.  Their weight, texture and fruit profile seem to really work well with pacific rim/fusion/regional cuisine.  Bistro fare would be great with this wine as well.

Winery & Other Background Information: I don’t quite have a sense yet for what domestic grenache’s flavor profile is.  This Ojai was peppery, juicy and grapey, while the Kenneth Crawford Larner was thick, chewy, viscous and had an umami verve going on.  Others I’ve had possess raspberry, wild berry and blackberry flavors while others are just pure raspberry candy fruit.

Again, the winemaking with Ojai is outstanding in my opinion.  Yes Adam Tolmach’s wines are ripe, big and opulent, but they’re also well-made and balanced in all areas of the wine besides the fruit, thus making for complete wines.


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