The Wine Idiot Reviews: Koehler Grenache, 2012 ($12.99)
You know I haven't booked a job in awhile when I look at a $12.99 bottle of wine and think "ooof, that's a little spendy!"
That's the situation I was in when I spotted this bottle of Koehler Grenache on the top shelf of my local Trader Joe's. I actually think I missed stopping at Koehler's tasting room on my one ill-fated trip down the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, but we all know I have a soft spot for Los Olivos wineries, so I felt particularly drawn to this bottle. As I reached for it, still not quite sure I should break the bank on this bottle, I realized IT WAS THE VERY LAST BOTTLE LEFT. Well. Decision made.
I've been really enjoying Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blends recently, but I'm pretty sure I've never had straight-up grenache on its own. So I was shocked--shocked, I tell you!--when I poured a glass and out of the bottle tumbled a brilliant red liquid the color of rubies. I think I was expecting a darker red, but instead it's more like a pinot noir--and just brilliant. Beautiful. I was so excited to drink it.
Wasn't disappointed! At first, it's light and juicy but not sweet--just like the lingonberry juice you can get in the Marketplace at IKEA. Then, it's spicy as you swallow. It brings to mind mulled wine on the finish, with notes of cardamom and cloves. It think the finish is also peppery? Is that a thing? I feel like I always taste pepper notes first or second, but somehow I feel like that's what lingers here.
This is not big and feisty like that Bordeaux I had the other day. It reminds me more of a pinot noir. In fact, I would really like to compare this to a pinot noir because I'm not sure the difference is, but I know there is one. This grenache isn't tannin-y, I think?
Bottom line, I seriously enjoyed this wine, and it's definitely worth the $12.99. It's an interesting red that I actually think would be a good compromiser red--people who don't really drink a lot of wine would enjoy it, but I think it has enough going on that connoisseurs could enjoy it as well.
What the bottle says: Nothing. Figure it out for yourself, says the winery.
What the Wine Idiot says: It's a label that says nothing in a really pretty way, though. I love it when a lot of effort goes into the label. It's printed on, like, parchment paper? And beautiful fonts. Props to the designer.
ABV: Wow. 14.5%! Pretty solid for a wine that doesn't taste super alcohol-y.
Who's responsible for this? Grown, Produced and Bottled by Koehler Winer, Los Olivos, California. (THE WINE IDIOT IS FEELING A LOT OF CALIFORNIA PRIDE RIGHT NOW.)
Do I need a corkscrew? Obviously. Did I mention this was on the TOP SHELF at TJ's?
What do smarter people say about it? Back in 2014, the Wandering Wino Shawn Burgert declared the Koehler 2012 Grenache to be a "wine that will blow up your skirt," which I just absolutely love. He defines that kind of wine as follows: "Do you recall the hints of anise, honeydew, or baking spice you tasted in a wine once 6 months ago? In many cases I do not, but I do recall getting really excited about a particular wine. I also get happy when I see bottles I recognize as wines I have really appreciated. Wines that blow up your skirt is about these types of wines, so no tasting notes, just kick butt wines that deserve attention and I hope to be in my glass again!" The Wandering Wino is my kinda wino. He also lists the retail price of a bottle at $20 which means I GOT A GREAT DEAL AT $12.99 WHICH IS BASICALLY LIKE GETTING IT FOR FREE RIGHT??
Should I bring it to a friend's house? 100% yes.