2012 Skylark Mendocino County Grenache (Previously $28)

SKU #1438220 93 points Wine & Spirits

 This could easily be mistaken for one of the more delicate old-vine Grenache wines coming out of South Australia - that appetizing mélange of tar, herbs, rose and strawberry carried in a texture that’s full bodied yet sunny and silky. It comes from a rocky southwest-facing slope above Ukiah that Charlie Sawyer planted to Cabernet in 1999, then grafted over to the Château de Beaucastel selection of Grenache in 2005. Winemakers (and longtime sommeliers) Robert Perkins and John Lancaster consider it one of the best Grenache sites on the North Coast, presenting a wine made without added yeast, new oak, fining or filtration - just remarkably pure Grenache.  (8/2016)

K&L Notes

As an unabashed Grenache lover I was floored by this opportunity. I'm not completely sure why they were sitting on a significant parcel of this back-vintage wine, but I knew better than to ask too many questions. It's incredibly rare to come across back vintages of California wine and rarer still to be able to buy an entire lot at an amazingly sweet price. Skylark is a micro-small winery operation spearheaded by two wine industry veterans cum San Francisco taste makers; John Lancaster and Rob Perkins. Together they built the wine program at the venerable Boulevard Restaurant. John & Rob source fruit for this beauty from a cool-climate site located high in the hills of Ukiah in Mendocino. The vineyard is planted with clonal material from the legendary Chateau-de-Beaucastel; arguably one of the greatest estates in France. Each year, this vineyard turns out some of the most impressive Grenache this side of the Atlantic. Each year Skylark produces a tiny batch (275 cases) of this glorious wine. What an amazing find.

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Price: $14.99
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By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 10/15/2019 | Send Email
There’s no denying that this wine is just now hitting its sweet spot. After several winters in the cellar, all of the parts have come together. Initially I had some reservations about the wines age but those were quickly erased as soon as I tasted it. Having opened several bottles now, I can confirm that this wine is firing on all cylinders. Reminiscent of a fine Gigondas or Lirac, or possibly the best Garnacha from Spain, the Skylark Grenache oozes with black cherry, berry and spice notes. There are generous floral aromatics merging into a mélange of dried roasted herbs. It's medium weight and simply glides across the palate. At nearly half the regular price, this wine comes just in time for the holidays. Load up on this one and pull corks vigorously for the next 2-3 months. Don’t miss out as this was a one-shot deal.

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:

Anderson Valley/Mendocino

- Cooled by the nearby ocean and the seemingly omnipresent bank of oceanic fog, this picturesque wine region is home to a wealth of cool-climate grapes like riesling and gewürztraminer plus chardonnay and pinor noir, which are responsible for impressive and intense sparkling wines.