Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Venteux Grenache 2013

Venteux Grenache 2013

Grenache is one of the world's most important grapes. It was born in Spain, where it's called Garnacha and forms a central part of blends with Tempranillo and Cariñena (Carignan). Moving across the Pyrenees into France, it's again blended, usually with Syrah and Mourvèdre as well as Carignan and Counoise. Elsewhere, particularly South Australia and South Africa, it's again a key component of blends.

Grenache is blended so often with other grapes because of its characteristics: it has low tannins and low acidity, meaning that it can be soft and flabby on its own. Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Tempranillo all add tannins and acidity, firming up the wine and making it more complex. However, in the right hands and in a climate with hot days and cool nights, it is possible to make interesting Grenache on its own.

California is the land of the single-varietal wine and it's perhaps because Grenache is at its best in blends that the grape variety has never really taken off in the state. The popularity of Grenache will only change through single-varietal wines, and Paso Robles is the place to go to. It's hot - and Grenache needs a warm climate to get fully ripe - so the wines are full-bodied, rich, and fruity, a style popular with US drinkers.

Venteux are a small Paso producer who make a fantastic Grenache. The 2013 has ripe red fruits - raspberries and red cherries - and earthy, liquorice aromas, with a nice maturity. What makes the wine stand out are the grainy, textured tannins, so difficult to get with Grenache, giving the wine real depth and concentration. Venteux don't distribute, so make a trip to Paso Robles to try this wine - it's worth it.

Price: $32

Vintage: 2013

Grape Variety: Grenache

Alcohol: 14.9%

Region: Paso Robles

Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2022

Food pairing: cassoulet; veal; beef; game

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2013

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2013

Joseph Swan Mancini Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel 2012

Joseph Swan Mancini Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel 2012