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Alban Pandora 2009

Rhone Red Blends from Edna Valley, Central Coast, California
  • RP97
  • V96
0% ABV
  • JD100
  • RP99
  • RP100
  • RP95
  • WS91
  • RP97
  • RP95
  • WS92
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • RP91
  • RP90
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0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

White flowers, cloves and mint wrap around layers of plush dark fruit in a sensual, mysterious Grenache of the very highest level. Despite its size, the Pandora is more refined than the straight Grenache.

Blend: 95% Grenache, 5% Syrah

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Even richer and fuller on the palate, and capable of standing toe-to-toe with the best Grenaches in the world, the 2009 Pandora checks in as a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah that was aged in 64% new French oak. Coming from a single block of pure chalk soils, its inky purple color is followed by notions of blackberry, black cherry liqueur, smoked ham, vanilla and hints of chalky minerality that give way to a full-bodied, layered and voluptuously textured wine. Despite all of the fruit, it has beautiful mid-palate density and a big, ripe tannic structure. Count me a fan and don’t miss an opportunity to taste this wine! It should benefit from short-term cellaring and drink nicely for 15 years or more. Drink 2015-2024.
V 96
Vinous
The 2009 Grenache Pandora is even better from bottle than it was from barrel. Surprisingly nuanced and detailed for such a big wine, the 2009 impresses for its balance, depth and pure pedigree. White flowers, cloves and mint wrap around layers of plush dark fruit in a sensual, mysterious Grenache of the very highest level. Despite its size, the Pandora is more refined than the straight Grenache. As has always been the case, the Pandora is first and foremost an Alban wine, while varietal notes are less evident, at least today. The 2009 is 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah. Readers lucky enough to find the 2009 are going to be in for a real treat. The Pandora is one of the more unique and compelling wines I tasted in the Central Coast this year.
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Alban
Alban, Edna Valley, Central Coast, California
Alban Vineyards is the first America winery and vineyard established exclusively for Rhone varieties. Conceived at a time when there were virtually only two "flavors" of wine produced in the U.S., they set out to introduce wine grapes that would offer oenephiles a new world of possibilities. Pioneering Roussanne, Grenache Noir and Viognier to go along with meticulously selected clones of Syrah, Alban Vineyards has guided consumers and producers to the enormous potential of Rhone varietals in California.

Edna Valley

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California’s coolest wine growing area, Edna Valley excels in the production of high quality Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Rhone Blends and aromatic white wines. It has a cool Mediterranean climate and an incredibly long growing season, giving late-ripening varieties plenty of opportunity to take their time to develop great phenolic complexity.

Its northwest-to-southwest orientation creates a direct path for cool Pacific air and fog to penetrate the valley from the Los Osos and Morro Bay area inwards. Low hillsides of both calcareous and volcanic soils are home to much of the vineyard acreage of the Edna Valley.

Rhône Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

ENG142369_2009 Item# 142369