Robert Larsen is back with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger on California Wine Country today. He has brought the Grenache and Grenache Rosé from his personal label, The Larsen Projekt. Robert Larsen is also a publicist with many years experience in the wine business.
The 2018 Rosés are coming out now and Robert has brought his entry. Dan Berger starts with a big compliment to Robert’s wines. “The most important thing is, it’s dry!” says Dan. It sells for only $20. Dan says that with the Rosé boom, some are pricing above $20 which Dan says you can get if it is dry.
Robert Larsen was at Rodney Strong Vineyards for many years and now he does marketing and public relations representation for many other wineries.
The Larsen Projekt is his personal production. He likes Grenache in all its blends and forms. They are tasting his 2018 Grenache Rosé from Dry Creek Valley. Dan says that Grenache gives you a red wine floral as opposed to a white wine floral. It is dry, with more than 7g of acid, it goes great with seafood.
The fruit comes from Mike Saini Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, for the Grenache Rosé and red. He has a team of winemakers who are former colleagues. He uses the Healdsburg custom crush facility.
Dan says the Saini family knows something about Grenache. They grow aggressively and the vines must be pruned well. “It is luxurious and beautiful,” says Steve. Robert Larsen Projekt wines are available at the Larsen Projekt website. Previous vintages are mostly at restaurants. Wilabee’s and Oliver’s carry them retail, and the restaurants Franchetti’s, Jackson’s, The Pullman Kitchen and Bistro 29 also do.
Robert Larsen started at Sonoma State University but before their wine business program was developed. He took an internship at Glen Ellen Winery. He still works with some people he met there. He was at Buena Vista, and also in Monterey County and Mendocino, but always came back to Sonoma County.
Dan says Grenache has lower tanins and therefore more approachable wines. Demand for it is increasing and more growers are planting it. It was originally called Bonarda and was made as a blender to cut the tannins in the Malbecs in Argentina. The Bonarda is related to an Italian grape, originally. The Grenache is an offshoot variety grown in the Rhone Valley. It is the dominant grape variety in the Southern Rhone Valley and an important component in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Most of the Grenache around now was planted from 1994 to 1998 or younger. They grow very tall fronds early in the growth season and you have to cut it way back. Too much fruit makes flavorless wine.
The 2018 Grenache Rosé will be released in the next two weeks, on the website.
The 2017 Grenache is blended with a little bit of Syrah, about 13%. Dan says this is Grenache as it wants to be, when it is a varietal. This one, from California, has lower tannins than a European variety. There are 13 legal varieties used in southern Rhone wines, which make up Chateauneuf du Pape. There are people who can not abide Cabernet Sauvignon because the tannins are too strong, so they drink Merlot instead. If you don’t like bitterness in your wine, this is the wine to buy.
Robert Larsen’s production is small, only 250 cases of the Grenache Rosé. But he only made 75 cases of the Red Grenache.