I’ve been lucky to have worked alongside some very talented Rhône-style rockstar winemakers. And Cindy Cosco, owner and winemaker of Passaggio, is one such lady. Though I wouldn’t say she has a specific ‘niche,’ she does amazing things with those Rhône grapes and her 2016 expression of Grenache Blanc is a perfect example.
Whereas less refined expressions of the grape seem to be overly dramatic with the fruit flavors, downplaying the textural components, Cindy has crafted a well-rounded Grenache Blanc drinking experience that taps all the senses.
About the Wine: Passaggio Wines 2016 Grenache Blanc is made from a field blend of 75% Grenache Blanc and 24% Marsanne grapes harvested from the Matthes Vineyard in Sonoma County — a vineyard Cindy has a personal relationship with. “My good friend Henry Matthes owns this vineyard,” says Cindy, “He approached me last year and wanted to know if I would make his Grenache Blanc in exchange for grapes. I jumped at the chance.”
(Learn more about Matthes Vineyard.)
The wine was aged in 100% stainless steel.
“I love a nice crisp white wine that goes well with food. I thought this would go well in my portfolio.” –Cindy Cosco
Flavor Profile: Twist that cap off and breathe in a beautiful aroma of pineapple and guava drizzled with agave nectar. On the pour, the Passaggio Wines Grenache Blanc is near clear, settling into the most subtle champagne-yellow in the glass.
Initial aromas are quite grassy and floral, with a beach-side minerality. This, combined with those tropical fruit aromas, paints the perfect picture of sitting on the sand, sipping a Mai-Thai, as a subtle sea-breeze blows your ocean-damp hair dry. Are you with me?
Swirl and sniff again, and the wine opens up with more citrus-inspired fruit aromas: pomelo, grapefruit, passionfruit and, if you take your nose to the top of the glass, a most delicate floral arrangement of orange blossoms.
The mouthfeel is surprisingly full, round, plush, with just the thinnest line of acidity that bursts through at the finish, leaving a bit of a tingle on the tongue and heat in the heart. Mid-palate is all about the grass and flowers — like eating the flower off of a prickly pear plant, this white wine has some substance to it, some texture, a body defined by the fruit from which it was made.
As much as this wine will invite you to relax, it will invite you to think.
Food Pairing: I enjoyed the Passaggio Wines 2016 Grenache Blanc with a veggie burger, recipe courtesy of my good friend Lin (aka @BoozyChef). I will not plagiarize her recipe, but you can see an image of it on my Instagram page @StacyLouBriscoe.
The recipe is actually quite herbaceous (well, I was quite generous with the herbs), which really brought out that crunch-factor in the wine — that “eating a flower whole” that I was talking about mid-palate. Meanwhile, those fruit elements of the wine cut through the savory spices in the burger, for a completely well-rounded meal.
More Info: I received the Passaggio Wines 2016 Grenache Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers Cindy!) Retail price not yet listed. For more information about Cindy, Passaggio, and to order wines directly, please visit the Passaggio Wines website.
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Cindy continues to make wonderful wines year after year. I haven’t tried this GB but hope to in the near future.
Your description sounds interesting for a GB that is lower in alcohol and aged in Stainless. I would have expected it to be a bit leaner and not showing much texture – kudos to Cindy for achieving this!
Agreed, Larry, it blew my mind. And for those who are not typically fans of the varietal, I’d encourage them to give this one a go. Cheers!
Cindy is an amazing winemaker and a fantastic person! I am honored to call her a friend.
Agreed on all accounts! I’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting her in person. I hope to rectify that in the near future. Cheers!
Thanks so much Stacy for the wonderful review…this si one of my favorites of the vintage!
You should be proud! This is an excellent expression of the grape, one unique to your story…cheers!
I love this wine. Cindy has an amazing hand at gently optimizing the fruit with a gentle passion not often found.
She also made my wine with this fruit and did and equally incredible job interpreting my goals — a genius wine maker, dear friend, and source of knowledge!
That’s beautiful teamwork. I know Cindy gives full credit to the amazing fruit you provided her. Cheers!