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Birichino Besson Vineyard Old Vines Grenache 2016

Grenache from Central Coast, California
  • WE93
  • W&S91
14% ABV
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  • W&S92
  • WE92
  • WE90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A vivid perfume of spice cake, candied cherries, cranberry and pine bough runs through every vintage – not merely a very pleasing flavor profile, but a signifier that the vineyard indeed has a unique voice. To amplify the voice, we add a small [and growing] percentage of clusters that are picked in small picking boxes and rested for 10ish days in George’s barn.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
There's a “wow” factor on the nose of this bottling of old vine Grenache, with fresh red cherry, cola, light licorice, rusty earth, rosewater and carnation all coming to the fore. The palate is loaded with wet gravel and river-stone minerality, which is decorated with red plum and pomegranate flavors. Overall light and easy yet complex and unique.
W&S 91
Wine & Spirits
The warmth of the 2016 vintage is on display in this wine’s heady scents and mildly briny sourness. The ripe black-cherry fruit is reined in by an almost clay-like grip of tannins, fine and elegant, for something with a bit of savor, like goat.
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Birichino

Birichino

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Birichino, Central Coast, California
Alex Krause and John Locke founded Birichino in Santa Cruz in 2008. Drawing on a combined four decades making wine in California, France, Italy, and beyond, they are focused on attaining the perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness. Sourcing from a number of carefully farmed, family-owned, own-rooted 19th and early 20th century vineyards (and a few from the late disco era) planted by and large in more moderate, marine-influenced climates, their preoccupation is to safeguard the quality and vibrance of their raw materials. Their preference is for minimal intervention, most often favoring native fermentations, employing stainless or neutral barrels, minimal racking and fining, and avoiding filtration altogether when possible. But most critically, their aim is to make delicious wines that give pleasure, revitalize, and revive. About the name- Birichino- biri-kino. Like locksmiths in the United States that add additional AAAs onto their names to be the first listed in the telephone directory, and drawing on deep reserves of innate marketing genius, we went in search of something unpronounceable to English speakers, yet also difficult to remember that began with A or B. Alluce was an early favorite, seeming to evoke lightness and air in English, but in fact translating as big toe. Seeking something with that playfulness, though about some things we profess to be deadly serious, and inspired by the surprising, slighty racy character of our first wine, the Malvasia Bianca that leads one on to thinking sweet, and delivers something else entirely, we hit on Birichino, meaning naughty in Italian. And who doesn't consider themselves just a little bit naughty, after all?
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Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

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Grenache

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Enjoying great glory across a variety of appellations, Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. The grape typically produces full-bodied reds interestingly light in both color and tannins. While it can make a charmingly complex single varietal wine, it also lends well to blending. Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha) where it remains important, particularly in Priorat where winemakers enjoy great liberties in blending Grenache with other varieties. Today it might be most well associated with the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its Villages. The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic Grenache (there called Cannonau) whereas in California, Washington and Australia, Grenache has achieved popularity both flying solo and in blends.

In the Glass

In sufficiently warm conditions, Grenache produces smooth and generous wines that are loaded with strawberry, cherry blackberry, purple plum and in the richest examples, even cocoa, black tea or licorice.

Perfect Pairings

Despite its bold flavors, Grenache has very mild-mannered tannins, which makes it eminently quaffable on its own, yet easy to match with food. Because of its friendly nature, Grenache is the ultimate barbecue red, pairing happily with lamb chops, pork loin or tri-tip. Unlike most other full-bodied reds, Grenache’s low tannin level ensures that it will not easily be fazed by a bit of spice.

Sommelier Secret

Sardinia is often revered for its association with a long and healthy life. Residents of the Italian island often live well into their 90s and beyond, crediting this to their antioxidant-rich red wines, like Cannonau, along with their healthy Mediterranean diet.

BIR89917500202_2016 Item# 505688