Bright ruby out to pink edges with light-medium density. This wine smelled somewhat more intriguing before breathing. I made notes to myself how closed in and formidable it was–how it seemed dark and mysterious and poised to explode away from all the rough edges. But after considerable air time, it develops a completely different set of nuances.
Oak and alcohol tend to come to the fore-front, mostly. I guessed 14-8 at the initial tasting, but had I tasted it after breathing, I would have pushed it closer to 15-2. NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH HI ALCOHOL. Well, actually, there IS, but the people who know better than you and I have tested and voted and decreed we all need to stop whining about hi-AL because chemically and factually, objectively OR subjectively, it just isn’t an issue so stop talking about it. #theamericanpalate and #balance took a few steps backwards this past weekend, folks. And #winemarketing and #ITSWINEOCLOCKSOMEWHERE gained yet another foothold.
But we’re here to talk about wine. I am not a stylist. The edgy graphite and tight tar I initially found wound into this bottle gave way to rich, round cassis, peach-pit and wet-gravel-road, heady and lovely throughout the nose–but coupled with the aforementioned alcohol note.
In the mouth, shocking tannin from the very first touch on the tongue all the way through the drawn-out finish. More alcoholic heat mid-through-finish but an overwhelming Granny-Smith core coupled with a nice little naive, pure-Syrah-fruit element in the mid-to-tail. Black licorice and leather. Not peed-on or sweaty leather, just crisp, dry sheets of cowhide.
I really like Cuvee Christie and this wine defies everything I learned there. It also goes considerably against the tired Larner/Kaena Grenache/Syrah offerings which are so mono-syllabic in focus on extraction and *yawn* they practically cancel themselves out. This is a serious, bruising wine, rife with acid and fruit and possessing a structure I have yet to see from Larner Vineyard. It does not show a single peep of classical ‘Grenache’ characteristics (it’s 75% Grenache). This feels like a cab/SY blend and even at 5 years, it shows hardly a trace of polish. I would love to taste this in 15 years. Yes, you read that right. If you are a fan of big, tight, acidic, tannic reds (Petite Sirah, Tannat) with no funk whatsoever, pick this thing up.
2009 TERCERO Grenache Cuvee Loco Larner Vineyard Ballard Canyon Santa Barbara Co. 14.8