2023 Margins Wine, Grenache, Paicines AVA, San Benito County.
It was a pleasure to taste through the Margins latest releases with winemaker Megan Bell, definitely a star on the Central Coast, including a preview of her fabulous 2023 Paicines Grenache, which shows off the most beautiful purity of fruit, lovely aromatics, delicate pale ruby/violet hue, sultry earthiness and mineral tones on a fine silken medium bodied palate. Much like the prior 2022 version, there’s a pinot like seductive quality and low alcohol brightness with strawberry, cherry, bramble berry and tangy plum fruits, all accented perfectly by some savory notes, wild fennel, herbs and grilled orange rind. This 2023 Grenache was, again, sourced from organic, regenerative and holistic vines at the Paicines Ranch Vineyard, which was originally planted in the 1960s in San Benito, set on sandy soils that contains a lot of limestone and decomposed granite. For her Grenache, like last year, Margins Wine(s)’ Megan Bell, used 100% de-stemmed grapes that were native yeast fermented on their skins for nine days with a gentle maceration. After which the Grenache was aged in neutral oak for just about 4 and a half months, before being bottled quickly with no fining or filtration, with only a small dose of sulfur, all to preserve purity and freshness. This is delightful translucent stuff and while still vibrantly youthful, it is easy to enjoy now and should be very pleasing for 3 to 5 years, it will be great served slightly chilled durning the warm Summer months and will be joyful with a wide array of cuisine, from poultry to meat dishes and or picnic and BBQ. Megan’s talents on display with these new offerings, in particular her Chenin Blanc, her Rosy Wake vin gris, the Neutral Oak Hotel red, and this distinctive Grenache.

The Margins Wineery, as mentioned here recently, is a small lot and mostly organic label of Megan Bell, a winemaker, who is focused on lesser known varietals, sustainable and hidden places, living and working mainly in the Santa Cruz Mountains. These wines are infectious and delightfully quaffable, but are serious too, with a true respect of place and varietal, in the same way Tegan Passalacqua’s Sandlands Vineyards wines are. Bell says, prior to settling on the central coast of California, she received her BS in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis in 2012 and apprenticed in wineries and vineyards in Napa, the Livermore Valley, the Willamette Valley, Central Otago (NZ), and the Loire Valley (France), all of which has given her perspective and helped her find her path to success. She is on a mission, being part of the growing movement in California to make low-intervention wines using grapes from underrepresented regions from vineyards, that she explains, are farmed organically or in organic conversion using minimal additives during the winemaking process, thereby showcasing the vineyards the grapes came from, like this Paicines Grenache. The Paicines Ranch Vineyard, Megan says, is home to a host of unique programs, including holistic planned grazing of cattle and sheep, organic minimum-till vegetable production, academic research studies, and educational workshops, and provides her with top notch grapes, including Grenache, but also Assyrtiko, an awesome Greek white grape, which I cannot wait to try and Verdejo, the Spanish grape most commonly found in Rueda. It is an exciting time to explore Megan’s Margins Wines, especially her 2023s, with many cool offerings available that I highly recommend searching out.
($35 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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