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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Wine Review: Dane Cellars Justi Creek Vineyard Grenache 2014

Dane Cellars Sonoma Valley Grenache 2014

This is the first of three wines I'll be reviewing for Dane Cellars. I'm starting with their 2014 Justi Creek Vineyard Grenache, then their 2013 Los Chamizal Vineyard Zinfandel, and concluding with their 2012 Justi Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Founder and winemaker Bart Hansen contacted me himself to try his wines and write about them. It's cool. No pressure. Just the guy who actually makes this wine took the time to ask me if I would review it. Bart started off in the industry during harvest; trucking grapes from the vineyard down a hill, five tons at a time. In 1986 he started winemaking for Kenwood, and then hopped over to Benzinger in 1998. He founded Dane Cellars in 2007, named after his son.

One of the cashiers at the Dennisport Luke's of Cape Cod (my place of employment, where I am the Wine Manager) is completely obsessed with reptiles and amphibians. He has countless lizards, a few salamanders, and a snake. We call him the Lizard King. Anyways, I texted him a picture of this label with the caption "lizard wine". He responded by asking "Is it made from real lizards?", to which I replied "Of course." But sadly it is not made from real lizards. It's made from real Grenache, fermented in small open tanks, and has an ABV of 15%.

Counting Crows, August and Everything After
Tonight I'm listening to a goddamn iconic musical production as my music selection: August and Everything After by Counting Crows. Is there a bad song on this album? I think not, sirs and madams! This one saw a lot of play from a teenage Joey Casco. Of course, so did Marilyn Manson and Wu-Tang Clan (I've always had a wide range of music, but that's besides the point). Any song from this album puts me in a special place, the Fortress of Sentimentality, and I'm not the only one to feel that way. It's amongst the top on my personal list of the greatest albums of all time. If any of you youngsters haven't given August a listen, do it now.

So the headphones are in and the wine is poured. The color is that very distinct, trademarked Grenache purple.

That unmistakable Grenache big-juicy-ripe-strawberry hits your nostrils with the glass a foot away, rising aggressively from those Grenache ethyl acetate vapors. I haven't even put the nose to the glass yet and it's already hitting Grenache right on the head perfectly. Up close there's also aromas of grape jelly, grinding stone, and cocoa powder. In the mouth it's medium bodied with soft tannin, and a prickly mouthfeel from the alcohol. There's flavors of plums, strawberries, cinnamon and milk chocolate. It finishes HOT HOT HOT from the alcohol!

It's a killer Grenache and very enjoyable stuff, but I think it needs a few more years in the bottle to get where it needs to be for the $40 price of admission. However, even if you do drink it now, it's not like you're going to feel like you wasted your money. So it gets a Satisfying for now, and the potential of excellence through cellaring brings it up half a notch.

Price: $40
Rating: 3.5/5 = Satisfying / Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.

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