What better way to welcome the new season than with this fresh crop of Graces from one of my favorite winemakers: Angela Osborne. I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with her personally last week and taste through her current lineup, and I’ve brought in my favorites to share.
Soft spoken and elegant, Angela is a perfect reflection of her wines. She was born and raised in New Zealand, and trained under our beloved Nick Goldschmidt (maker of our best selling Cabernet and Chardonnay!) at Simi Winery when she first arrived in the states. It was up in Sonoma where Angela first encountered a delicate and complex locally grown Grenache, and she never looked back.
Angela named her brand for her grandmother, Grace, who exuded a quiet fortitude and delicacy, and for the element of grace in nature, which for her, shines especially brightly through the medium of Grenache.
Over the years Angela has accumulated rights to quite an impressive collection of vineyard sites around the state from which she crafts the most expressive, layered, and absolutely stunning wines I’ve tasted in quite some time. Each wine is hand crafted in the tiniest quantities, and we are lucky to get a bit to share with you. These are my favorites:
2014 A Tribute to Grace, Grenache, Hofer Vineyard, Cucamonga Valley, CA, $32.99
So back in the day, east LA was a sea of grapevines. Development won, of course, and the evidence of such an agricultural past is few and far between. Angela found some almost 100 year old, own rooted Grenache vines on the Hofer family property right next to the Ontario Airport wher there are only 6 acres remaining of the original 400. This is such a cool wine, I had to have it here at The Wine Country: gorgeous color, bright, crunchy strawberry, florals and spice on the nose keep luring you in for another sip, and the bright, zingy texture in the mouth is so refreshing! Serve this lovely gal with a slight chill!
2015 A Tribute to Grace, Grenache, Santa Barbara County, CA $29.99
Angela’s batches of Grenache are tiny, but lucky for us, Angela makes a bit more of the SBC. The fruit is more abundant, the price comes down and we can enjoy this Grace more often! Bits of fruit from Highlands as well as select valley floor sites swirl together in perfect harmony. Light and delicate florals drive the wine with a rich and focused strawberry rhubarb core. This is the perfect introduction to Grace!
2014 A Tribute to Grace, Grenache, Provisor Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, CA, $54.99
This is a truly special bottling from Angela. Her favorite clone, grown with love at a dear friend’s tiny mountainside property up in Dry Creek has yielded a truly remarkable wine. Heady aromatics right up front, and the palate is all finesse and satiny layers: garrigue, mountain strawberry, lavender and cream followed by briar, red currant and pink peppercorn. Olive, violet and clove dart about on the long finish. A bit more concentration than the other Graces, but certainly still in her signature light and elegant style. A wine of true pedigree.
2014 A Tribute to Grace, Grenache, Highlands Vineyard, Santa Barbara, CA, $44.99
100% mesa fruit this year, the 300m elevation shines through with precision and focus. Intoxicating floral notes of carnation, jasmine, and lilac bring layers of spice: star anise, freshly baked cinnamon pastry and delicate white pepper. The beam of bright red cherry and pomegranate carries through to the finish, and you are left with a lip-smacking tart strawberry note. The very definition of Grace!
2016 A Tribute to Grace, Rose of Grenache, Santa Barbara, CA $22.99
We also have here Rose! Samantha Dugan writes: “…More depth and texture and weight [than the 2015]. Bright red fruits up front with a breezy floral and peach note on the long, but still dry finish. Only 500 cases made.”