Check out the new, mobile-friendly!

A California Red that Evokes France and Australia

Unti Grenache Dry Creek Valley 2006
Harvey Steiman
Posted: July 27, 2009

Having found a winner a few weeks earlier with Unti’s Barbera, I jumped at the chance to try the Sonoma winery’s Grenache when I spied it on the by-the-glass list at A16. My wife and I had stopped into the San Francisco trattoria for lunch—a pizza margherita hot from the wood-fired oven and a bruschetta topped with lovely fresh ricotta and a melange of grilled vegetables.

In my experience, California vintners often fall short with Grenache, but my fond memory of Unti’s Barbera persuaded me to order a 375ml carafe of the Grenache, for $25. It was a revelation, supple and generous with its blueberry and plum fruit, nicely shaded with tar and sweet spice notes. I especially liked the texture, which let the wine dance easily. 89 points, non-blind.

Turns out Unti used different clones from those generally available in California, planting cuttings from Châteauneuf-du-Pape in 1998. With 17 percent Syrah and 6 percent Mourvèdre in the blend, Châteauneuf-du-Pape clearly was the model for the wine. And yet the profile reminded me more of Australian GSMs (Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro (Mourvèdre) blends). Not a bad thing. members: Get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Grenaches from California, plus our quick list of Easy Finds among California reds.

Would you like to comment?

Want to join or start a discussion? Become a member and you can!

To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. To learn more about member benefits, take our site tour.


= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences


The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories