After reviewing the McKahn Family Cellars 2017 Rosé of Grenache, the Livermore-based family winery was kind enough to send me a few samples to review. I was so excited to see this Grenache-based red blend in my package. Having experienced what winemaker Charles McKahn can do in regards to “rosé-ing” the grape, I was definitely eager to experience what a red wine version would be like. And I’ll say straight-away, this bottle far exceeded my expectations in regards to expression of the fruit and just pure winemaking talent.
About the Wine: The McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Morning Glass is made from 80% Grenache, 12% Petite Sirah, and 8% Syrah grapes harvested from Shenandoah Valley in Amador, California. The grapes were de-stemmed and fermented in open-top tank on their skins for 14 days. The wine was aged in combination Hungarian and French oak (40% NFO) for 15 months.
I also love the story that goes along with the name of the wine, so I feel obliged to put it here as well:
Every year from 2003 to 2013 our family would spend a week at Lake San Antonio in southern Monterey County. We would cram together in tight quarters in a modular home, spend the days on the lake water skiing, and the nights on the deck mostly laughing and having the best of times. One tradition that stood out was the 6:30 am morning ski run. The lake was quiet, undisturbed and smooth as glass, which is where we derived the name Morning Glass.
Flavor Profile: The McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Morning Glass is immediately aromatic the second you pop that cork: breathe in decadent scents of dark chocolate ganache, black plums, black cherries, and midnight soil. This Grenache-based blend is a mature purple-maroon on the pour, settling into the glass just the same at its core, but fading out to a light rose-violet along the perimeter.
Initial aromas are of black cherry, red roses, a hint of herbaceousness, and a lovely backbone of acidity. Swirl, and enliven those flowers, mix it with the acidity, and create a perfume — this wine is just so floral on the nose.
The palate of the McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Morning Glass is plushy, pillowy, textural, and almost dry, but there’s so much going on that that dryness serves a purpose to the story that this wine is telling, and does so in such a way that you don’t feel dried out. The acid cuts through, but in a way that develops that story further, adding a bit of spice-sensation and engaging the taste buds. The body is a solid medium, the acidity and tannins a medium plus — enjoyably so. Dominant flavors are of oak wood, plum, ginger, black cherry, soy, a hint of chili (flavor not the heat component), and — as the wine opens up throughout the evening — it gives way to an elegant smokiness and full-on, bursting-at-the-seams black cherry fruit.
Food Pairing: I paired the McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Morning Glass with a seafood paella (pictured below), and I just loved this pairing. The sweetness and softness of the scallops and muscles pronounced those plushy plums and cherries even further, giving the wine a glorious mouth-full mouthfeel. Meanwhile the wine brought out the seafood’s natural salinity, adding a good balance to the dish as a whole. The crispy burnt bits of the paella’s bottom brought out the hidden bit of smoke in the background of the wine. And the meatiness of the prawns paired well with the beautiful body of this Rhone-style red blend.
More Info: I received the McKahn Family Cellars 2016 Morning Glass as a sample for review. (Cheers!) Retail: $36. For more information about McKahn Family Cellars, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the McKahn Family Cellars website.
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