GSM on the rocks

In it’s most basic form, owning a winery involves four major steps.  1. Buy land.  2. Plant vines 3. Grow grapes 4. Make wine.  This method works well if you have a shit ton of money and an eye for the perfect planting site.  Unfortunately, there are two main challenges that many face with this method.  First, if you don’t have much money – your wines are going to have to cost an arm and a leg to keep good on your bank note.  Next, if you don’t have the perfect planting site – your wines are going to suck as it all starts in the vineyard; right?

It is because of these challenges that some wine makers take a different approach.  Instead of buying land, planting vines, and growing grapes; they simply source their fruit from existing vineyards.  This allows a winemaker to have zero guard-rails.

Hey there Mr. Winemaker –

Want to make a cool climate Syrah from the Sta. Rita Hills? Knock yourself out…

Want to make a Riesling from the Fingerlakes? I ain’t mad at ya…

How about crisp Pinot Gris from Willamette? Why the hell not…

This type of “sourcing” approach to wine making is exactly what  the owners of Cochon Wine Company, Adam Webb and Mike Kuenz set out to do when they launched their brand back in 2004.  With a focus on Rhone varietals, the winery’s vision is to make wines sourced from the best California sites available to them with the utmost attention to vineyard quality.

Cochon “Pape Rocks” is a GSM blend with just a drop of Cinsault.  The wine shows a pretty, ruby center with watery translucent edges.  On the nose, I get only one note – raspberry.   My first taste starts with acidic black cherry and anise.  Mid-palate my tongue is coated with a sort of bacon fat mouth-feel, which I can get down with.  On the finish, the fruit drops off and alcohol rears it’s ugly head.  Hot, hot, hot.  This wouldn’t be quite as offensive if the fruit was there to hold up to the heat but unfortunately it’s not and this wine finishes with a burn….

2013 Cochon “Pape Rocks” GSM – South Central Coast CA

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