2014 Comartin "Tierra Alta Vineyard" Ballard Canyon Grenache

SKU #1335511 91 points Wine Enthusiast

 Dried red-cherry aromas meet with turned earth, concentrated rose and intriguing carnation notes on the nose of this bottling from a vineyard on the northern tip of the appellation. The well-woven flavors included tart cherry and baking spices of vanilla and nutmeg, all presented on a relatively lightweight body. (MK)  (11/2017)

K&L Notes

Winery notes: "100% Grenache from Tierra Alta Vineyard in Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County. Soils are made up of cllay with fragmented limestone. Whole-berry fermentation; matured for 25 months in French oak barrels. Just 65 cases made. Tierra Alta Vineyard, meaning 'The High Land,' is perched on top of Ballard Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley. Ballard Canyon, because of its distinct microclimate, soils and high quality wines, was recently approved as a new AVA (American Viticulture Area) in 2013. Positioned at the top of the canyon, the vineyard has great sun exposure and the elevation of 1,200ft allows for cool nights. The warm days and cool nights promote balanced ripening of the berries and clusters. The soils are primarily composed of clay and fragmented limestone, which give the wine soft tannins and added layers of minerality. Santa Ynez Valley runs East-West with no mountain range blocking the valley from the Pacific Ocean, which enables the cool air and fog to penetrate the vineyard during the long summer days common to Santa Barbara. This is important because it allows for more even ripening and produces balanced flavors."

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Price: $29.99

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Staff Image By: Heather Vander Wall | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/15/2018 | Send Email
Grenache is not often featured in the US, and even in France it is typically found in a blend, yet this grape can be one of the most elegant and expressive wines I've ever encountered. Our friends at Comartin have come out with just such a bottling of Grenache! This is a lighter bodied wine, with lovely red plum and violet notes. It has a Pinot-like quality with smooth, fine tannin and aromatically-driven red fruit. I'd be hard-pressed to find a wine that I'd rather open and drink on almost any occasion.

Additional Information:



- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Santa Ynez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.