Review: American New Releases

92 Points: 2016 Grenache, Estate

“Skinner grows grenache at two sites, one in alluvial soils at 1,400 feet in Rescue, the other in coarse sands at 2,700 feet in Fair Play. Together, they deliver a floral red with tangy scents of orange peels and bitters. It has the rich texture of crushed velvet, its flavors deepening to spicy cured meats and black olives. For charcuterie.”

91 Points: 2017 Grenache, El Dorado

“The fruit for this wine grows at six vineyards, including Suma Kaw, a north-facing hillside at an elevation of 2,800 feet on volcanic loam, and Baiocchi, in Somerset, on granitic soils. It has a rich density of flavor for such a lightly colored wine, with delicate strawberry notes deepening to cherry compote flavors, tingling with energy. Bring a bottle to Sichuan Impression in LA’s San Gabriel Valley, to drink with the tea-smoked pork ribs.”

91 Points: 2016 Eighteen Sixty-One

“This makes a bright and airy first impression, with mountain-grown freshness to its sweet strawberry flavors. It’s a blend of mostly grenache, with some mourvedre and syrah, most of it purchased fruit. Oak adds a smoky element, but it’s the green-peppercorn spice and brisk strawberry fruit that lasts.”

90 Points: 2016 Dry Diggings

“Skinner bases this wine on syrah (68 percent) from its Stoney Creek Vineyard. As a young wine it’s a big bruiser, focused on the bitter tannins of black-skinned fruit, with notes of chocolate, anise and black pepper trailing those tannins in the end. Brisk, tough and powerful, this is a mouth-filling red to decant for slow-braised short ribs.”

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