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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