2016 Flywheel, Grenache, Boer Vineyard, Chalone AVA, Monterey County.
Winemaker Scott Shapely’s Flywheel Wines, his own project, specializing in hand-crafting small-lot wines in his home town from fruit grown in Monterey County, with most vineyard sources located near the Pinnacles and especially the unique limestone terroir of the Chalone region. This chalky region has, as Shapley puts it, a majestic landscape that provides amazing grapes that showcases this special place and its characteristic dense fruit and minerality. Shapely who has been the winemaker at Roar for a while now, crafting some of the greatest wines of the Santa Lucia Highlands, especially the Garys’ and Rosella’s Pinots, as well as consulting at some other high quality boutique producers, which until recently included helping Paul Gordon’s Halcon Vineyards, a winery that is fast becoming one of the state’s best Syrah makers. It was great to catch up with Scott recently and taste his beautiful 2016 Boer Vineyard Grenache, it is a wine that impresses with lovely delicacy and purity of varietal form, on par with some of the most finessed versions of this grape with layers of dusty raspberry, strawberry, pomegranate and plum fruits, brambly spices, chalky stones, rose petals, lavender and wild fennel. There’s a quiet sense of confidence on the medium full palate and a feeling of fresh lightness that allows easy drinking, the extra bottle age here really benefits it and lets this Grenache to unfold with graceful and sweet tannins and the wine doesn’t have a heavy hand with almost no oak accents showing at this point. The 2016 Boer Grenache is delicious from start to finish, its ruby/crimson color invites and the finish re-invites you to enjoy another sip, its a smooth wine that gives way more than expected, it really highlights Shapely’s talents and the Chalone regions personality in a natural and transparent way, this is tasty stuff.
Grenache is really seeing its time come and I have been blown away with what is going on here in California with this grape and the great array of expressions that are available and Shapely’s Flywheel Grenache is an under the radar offering that fans of this varietal should search out, it reminds me of a few top quality wines I’ve had in the last few months, like Ian Brand’s fabulous Besson, Sheldon’s Ceja Farms and it has a lot in common with a few made by the talented Angela Osborne as well, to name a few, as well as some classic Rhones and the gorgeous wines of the Sierra de Gredos in Spain. The Boer Vineyard is up in the Gabilan Range very near the Pinnacles National Monument, set on collection of desirable soils including decomposing granite and brittle, chalky limestone from an ancient seabed uplifted by tectonic plate movement, it is a place of big daily temperature swings that brings out the lush fruit that takes center stage in the wines, like this Flywheel Grenache, but also the chilly nights fresh the vines and gives the wines a lift of acidity. Shapely makes a full selections of tiny production wines under his label with a collection of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Mouredre and this Grenache, which is a very solid value, exceeding in terms of quality for the price, it is a wine that makes me want more and is brilliant with an array of cuisine choices. I can’t wait to dig into more of Scott’s wines, I really look forward to trying the Flywheel Mourvedre as well, it is a grape that also thrives in the limestone soils of the Chalone zone. This 2016 Boer Grenache is really hitting its stride and is in a great place, it should drink well for another 3 to 5 years easily, I highly recommend chasing down a few bottles!
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive