I ratted the Mourvèdre 2 months ago, I’ll dig up the notes when I get to work in a bit.
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Wine: 2013 Cass Grenache (Paso Robles/Central Coast, California, USA), Release Price: $32.
Shipping, Storage, Cellar and Serving Temperatures
The wine was shipped overnight via FedEx from Sonoma to the Westside of Los Angeles. It arrived “cool to the touch” at 1:30 p.m. It was then placed in a 56-degree cellar for four hours. Thirty minutes before the meal, the bottle was refrigerated so that the serving temperature would be about 52 degrees when the top was twisted off and the pour started. The ambient temperature was 78 degrees. Decant: none (twist-off ‘n pour, consumed bottle over 120 minutes). Stemware: Riedel “No Stem” Glasses.
Pre-Meal: “First Impressions”
First impressions were positive. My wife picked up non-distinct berries, smoke, and faint alcohol on the nose, along with a tiny bit of menthol, mint, and licorice. I added choke cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. We noted a color that’s somewhere between strawberry and a light claret. No visible sediment. It was much lighter than what I think of as a typical Paso Grenache. That being said, flavors were pleasant, especially given that the bottle was in a FedEx truck all morning. We characterized the wine as having light viscosity, and a nice crisp mouth-feel. The flavors were subtle, almost muted, and the finish was somewhat short. The wine was perfectly pleasant and drinkable.
1st Course “Salad, with a particularly strong garlic and vinegar dressing.” The wine stood up well to the dressing. My wife called the wine a “crowd pleaser.” The wine served its purpose admirably during this course. Respect. 2nd Course “Rib-eye steak, baked potato with sour cream and cheese.” The wine held up to the steak-and-potato dinner. It was light, for sure, but it turns out to be a nice summer “hot day” alternative for a meal like this compared to, say, a typical pairing of a cabernet sauvignon or Bordeaux blend on a cooler day. Again, respect. Meal: 3rd Course “Dark chocolate lava cake.” The wine did not hold up well against the dark chocolate, not nearly as well as a darker, heavier wine would. That being said, although we planned to save a glass to try on day 2, we finished the bottle. Valiant effort.
Final Thoughts: “The Verdict”
My wife and I drink a lot of Grenache from Paso Robles and other parts of the Central Coast (e.g., Torrin, Law Estate, Villa Creek, Denner). Previously, we were not aware of Cass Vineyard and Winery. If we tasted this wine blind, to be perfectly honest, we would not have recognized it as a Paso Grenache. It was much lighter, much more subtle, had a lower alcohol %, and was less fruit forward. The tannins were mild, and my wife’s description of “refreshing” and “sweet but not sweet” was not inaccurate. The 2013 Cass Grenache is not a wine that I would drink by itself, but it paired surprisingly very well with food that may normally overpower a lighter Grenache. At the right price, my wife and I would recommend it for a weekday meal, even a glass for lunch. My wife called this “a solid Thursday wine.” I’d suggest drinking in the next 18 months. The release price of $32 is about right for this level of Grenache from Paso Robles, though it would be a “buy” for me at $20-22. Recommend.
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I do have to say I really did enjoy watching the video about the winery.
'13 cass Mourvèdre tasting notes from 9/4/15
I found this to be a quite interesting wine. Everything I know about Mourvèdre is it makes a great rose and it’s typically used in blending for its color and tannins. So I opened this version from Paso and expected a big dark fruit tannic wine. I did not get that.
Day 1, 30 minutes from PNP, with bbq chicken.
It’s a medium garnet in color, clear with no sediment. A moderate but young nose of dusty cherry and some minor alcohol note. On the tongue it’s really interesting, it’s dry, medium bodies ed bordering on light. Good acidity and minimal tannins. It’s well balanced and could maybe use a bit more body. Flavors are black cherry, and raspberry. No ancillary Flavors, no noticeable oak. Decent finish.
Definitely the same wine but it feels a little fuller and the fruit has come out a bit. The nose has a very perfume quality to it. And the alcohol had become more noticeable. The palate retained its nice acidity and took on a much more juicy quality that leaves your mouth wanting more. A very smooth soft red fruit mouth feel. I really enjoyed it more day 2 and recommend at around $20 a bottle.
It needs a stiff decant or at least shouldered a couple hours before enjoying. If I were given this at a blind tasting I would swear it was a Sonoma coast Pinot noir. It totally threw me.
winemaker here. Ill be checking in every once in awhile to answer questions you may have. As noted in the above tasting notes this is a light Grenache as noted by the 13.6% alc. A lot of Paso Robles grenaches are darker but also pretty tannic and high in Alcohol (close to 16%). this is due to over ripeness, extended maserations, and in most cases the adding of a lot of Syrah. It is just two different styles of making grenache. I think the lighter style is more elegant and nuanced. we refer to it as a Paso Pinot. This Grenache won Best of Class at the Central Coast Wine Competition.
Curious about the somewhat high pH on both of these,
suggesting these are meant for near term consumption.
Is this driven by the the fruit, or more of a producer style?
Any additional comments appreciated.
PH seems high…usually indicates flabbiness. Can you comment on this?
The sampling of Cass wines that I did at Screwtop Winebar was so long ago that my tasting notes would not be relevant, but the memory of the evening has not faded.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a tasting hosted by co-owner Ted Plemons, DO NOT MISS IT! What a blast!
Today’s tasting notes have been x-posted into CT.
did we really chase him away…?
Nope you did not scare me off.
As far as the pH goes it is fully vineyard driven. I make the wine that expresses the vineyard. Hence why these are single varietals. As far as aging and pH there are two schools of thought… that pH can indicate age ability and that it is more tannin. I think that tannin plays a bigger role and that its not pH but your acidity. (pH can be more important in whites). Moreover I believe in balance. If a wine tastes great then why would I change it based on numbers? (even though I have a chemistry back round). I have had a 20+ year old Cote Du Rhone where I thought, “this needs longer.” based on the tannin and acid. In reality it will probably never “be there.” because it was just not balanced.
That being said, The grenache is light in tannin but also low in alcohol and a screw enclosure (regulated aging, no cork failure). So, it is definitely age worth for the next 3-4 years or so but not a 10 year.
I would say that is a far reaching “rule of thumb” but not true a lot of the time. its about balance. See my comment below.
P.S. I worked for a winemaker that had previously been at Opus One. He bottled a Syrah at 4.2 ph and still awesome.
A very good friend of mine who is very knowledgeable of wines raves about Cass as his favorite Winery. I have found it nearly impossible to find online, so I’m extremely pleased that Cass showed up on Wine Woot.
In for 2!
This seems like the kind of offer that many may regret not buying.