Made in Santa Barbara California in the Watch Hill portion of the Santa Barbara Highlands, winemaker Curt Schalchlin does all the cellar work himself. He hires no consultants or assistants and loves to experiment. A one man show with uncompromising standards of quality, no one would mistake Groundwork for a French wine. However, it is a wonderful (and delicious) interpretation of the Rhone varietal. Schalchlin is a winemaker of the old-world style, he believes that stem inclusion adds depth to his wines…and I’m inclined to agree. Wine Spectator recently featured Curt Schalchlin as one of the ten emerging Rhone winemakers in California, so I am in good company when I say that this winemaker is talented.
Scalchlin’s individualistic approach yields a daring wine that spends 16 months in barrel (10% new and 90% neutral French oak). The result is a rich, flavorful wine that can be decanted up to 2 hours in order to bring out the full flavor.
My kitten nose detected aromas of raspberry, white pepper, brown sugar and cocoa powder. On a second swirl and sniff, herbaceous notes of rosemary, sage and forest came out as well. Since I am not of age, my humans tell me that these aromas plus subtle hints of blood orange, eucalyptus, fresh ground espresso and thyme are present on your palate.
I say put down that Cabernet if you are having steak tonight (or even a mushroom and pesto dish)…Groundwork Grenache will give more justice to your dinner instead!