God Only Knows Grenache

Produced: 2005 - present

Professional reviews and tasting notes from prior vintages added as published (scores within parentheses indicate barrel samples):


99 Points. One of the great Grenache wines of North America, the ebullient 2019 God Only Knows has a small portion of Syrah blended in, as this was entirely sourced from the Armada Vineyard. Showing a dark core once in the glass, the captivating aromatics bring you back to the glass. Mandarin orange rind dusted seaweed, flint, Yakima cherry puree and pretty strawberry tones combine with lighter red florals on the nose. The palate is utterly seamless and soft once on the mouth, with serious minerality... Very stony and finishing long with bright red fruits and kumquat rind accents, this dizzying Grenache is truly one of a kind. Enjoy this beauty over the next decade and give this at least 30 minutes of air if savoring now. Drink 2022-2031. —Owen Bargreen, owenbargreen.com

97 Points. Once again, a stunning wine from Christophe Baron… This immediately grabs your attention with its absolutely gorgeous aromas of raspberries and dark cherries which come together with dried florals, wet stones, spices and hints of grilled herbs all coming together in the glass. This exudes class and refinement, as it possesses a wonderful silky texture that glides seamlessly across the palate. It continues to thoroughly impress as it displays remarkable overall balance and finesse, along with incredible freshness that persists all the way through the precise finish. This is already utterly captivating in its youth; however, it should go on to age beautifully over the course of the next decade and beyond. —Jeremy Young, International Wine Report

96 Points. The 2019 God Only Knows is another gorgeous example of this wine that has a style all its own. Revealing a translucent ruby hue as well as a kaleidoscope-like bouquet of ripe cherries, blackberries, forest floor, spring flowers, and charcoal, it hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, a silky, seamless mouthfeel, perfect balance, and a great finish. This exotic, perfumed Grenache is a hypothetical mix of a Grand Cru from the Côte de Nuits and a 100% Grenache Châteauneuf from sandy soils. It should cruise in the cellar for 10-15 years. —Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

96 Points. Aromas of plump red fruit with a wonderful array of herbs and spice. Medium-bodied with bright, well-balanced acidity that carries the fruit effortlessly. Refreshing, fine tannins. So much complexity coming from the ground and whole spices. I like the note of dried roses and violets. A total delight. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold. —James Suckling, jamessuckling.com


99 Points. The 2018 Red Wine God Only Knows is a truly mesmerizing blend of nearly all Grenache with a small part Syrah, sourced from the Armada vineyard, farmed at a mere 1.5 tons per acre. The incredibly savory nose features blood orange zest, red cherry candy, nori and pomegranate seed with stony undertones. The palate is liquid silk that makes this wine truly all its own. Lip-smacking acidity, beautiful tension and an exceedingly long finish add to the equation. The purity of fruit here is second to none. This very “Château Rayas” bottling is nothing short of perfection in the bottle. —Owen Bargreen, Vinous

98 Points. Gorgeous rose petals, wildflowers, cured meats, wild strawberries, and framboise-like notes emerge from the 2018 Grenache God Only Knows, another ethereal, sensationally complex, nuanced, medium-bodied Grenache that's as unique and singular as they come. Blossoming with time in the glass, it has ripe, present tannins, a layered, building mouthfeel, and a gorgeous, smoky, meaty finish. It needs 3-5 years in the cellar (it's far from unapproachable today) to integrate its tannins and structure and will deliver the goods over the following 10-15 years. —Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

97 Points. Dried roses, plums, cherries, lemon zest and dried basil on the nose. It’s full-bodied with creamy tannins. Juicy, bright and savory with delicious layers of fruit and herbs. Hints of chocolate, too. Silky, supple finish. Drink or hold. —James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

96 Points. Erupting from the glass with spiced cherry and smoked plum tones, the 2018 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard offers up notions of dusty roses, red peppercorn and dried potpourri. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is balanced with energetic acidity, a spicy, red-fruited expression and fine-grained, succulent tannins. The wine concludes with a dusty essence and a lingering flavor of red pepper skin… It's stunningly good, and I have no choice but to finish the glass. —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

94 Points. This wine is predominantly Grenache, harvested at just over one ton per acre. The aromas start out reserved for this appellation and estate, with notes of strawberry, peat, potpourri, smoked meat, clay and soot. Fuller-feeling potpourri and orange rind flavors follow, ramping up in intensity over time. The finish just will not quit, kicking it up a notch. Give it a bit of time in the cellar to reap the fullest rewards. —Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast


99 Points. …Reveals a medium ruby/purple hue as well as a gorgeous nose of framboise, wild strawberries, sweet mulch, sappy flowers, ground pepper, and liquid violets. This carries to a medium to full-bodied, Burgundian Grenache that has a great mid-palate, an opulent, powerful yet ethereal mouthfeel, ripe tannins, and a solid spine of acidity. It’s the finest vintage I’ve tasted of this cuvée, blending remarkable intensity with a sense of elegance and purity that’s something to behold… —Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

97 Points. The subtlety of fruit here is mesmerizing with sweet strawberry, floral and tangerine aromas that follow through to a medium to full body, fine and soft tannins and a long, delicious finish. It shows such polish and fineness. —James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

95+ Points. The 2017 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard displays a beautiful ruby color and offers up from aromas of wild raspberry and smoked cherry with an underlying savory tone of rosemary and lavender bushes after a dust storm. Medium to full-bodied, the wine is supple and ripe with a polished shine to the mid-palate, showing a balanced structure that is floral and lifted with a high-toned red fruit sensation. Showing fine-grained tannins, aligned with a soft umami character, the long-lingering finish delivers pleasure for more than a minute. The 2017 is showing beautifully now and is approachable in youth but has the propensity to age for a decade or more. —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate


98 Points. Insanely aromatic notes of potpourri, raspberry, white pepper, soot, funk and earth are followed by bright, fresh, focused, uber-rich fruit and savory flavors. It shows a sense of delicacy and intensity with unparalleled balance. There is no end to the finish. What makes this Grenache-driven wine so extraordinary? God only knows. Best from 2023 to 2027. —Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast

96 Points. The 2016 God Only Knows saw a fair amount of stems (60-80%) and was brought up in neutral demi-muids and foudre. It’s incredibly complex, offering blackberry, smoked earth, Iberico ham, white pepper, spring flowers, and violets. It’s seamless, ultra-pure, medium-bodied, and just glides across the palate and has a Burgundian weight and richness. —Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

95+ Points. Featuring a playful label, the 2016 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard is a blend of 90% Grenache, with the remaining 10% comprising unknown varieties. This has a seductive nose of cherry and wild strawberry, with a floral essence and rich minerality, tamed by soft red spices. There is a touch of black pepper here, suggesting a splash of Syrah in the blend. The wine is tight on the palate but gives pleasure on many different levels, as it has both breadth and depth. There is a focused core of rocky minerality to the wine as it lingers on the long, textured finish with good balance and structured tannins. This is impressive juice! —Anthony Mueller, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. Very attractive, spicy and sappy whole-bunch aromas with raspberries and wild cherries, as well as a wildflower note. The palate has a smoky, salty edge with a lacy array of tannins that carry long, fresh and sapid. So delicious, very pinot-esque. A blend of 90% grenache and 10% other grape varieties (God only knows). Drink or hold. —James Suckling, jamessuckling.com

94 Points. … Knockout nose combines red cherry, pomegranate, mocha, white pepper and a sexy high-toned floral element. At once salty and juicy on the palate, savory but not particularly meaty, with a dominant flavor of crushed red cherry complicated by notes of garrigue and truffle. Finishes very long and subtly palate-staining, with terrific floral complexity… —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous

94 Points. Demands attention immediately, yet remains graceful and refined, with notes of bacon fat, raspberry and orange peel, plus crushed rock and pepper. Takes on tension toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2027. —Tim Fish, Wine Spectator


97 Points. The 2015 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard is superb, wafting from the glass with a bouquet of kaleidoscopic complexity that features aromas of rose hips and peony, ripe cherries and orange rind, mingled with savory bass notes of garrigue, licorice and bay leaf. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and expansive, with a deep core of fruit framed by very fine-grained, velvety tannins, concluding with a sapid, even saline finish. Its concentration without weight, as well as its striking aromatic amplitude, mark it out as one of the finest expressions of Grenache to be found in the United States… — William Kelley, The Wine Advocate

97 Points. Truly one of the best wines made in Washington, the 2015 ‘God Only Knows’ by Cayuse Vineyards is a stunning effort from this storied estate. The nose takes on some insanely impressive range, showing potpourri, white rose, white truffle, and Umami. Silky, showing an incredible mouthfeel, the wine reveals a wonderful combination of red and dark fruits. Silky smooth through the palate, there is an incredible purity of fruit with guava puree, wild blackberry, blood orange, wet stone, Umami and gobs of mouth-watering acidity. There is a wonderful combination of freshness and weight at play. A head-turner, this is best enjoyed in the last decade. —Owen Bargreen, Washington Wine Blog


97 Points. There are 533 cases of the 2014 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard, and as always, it's an unknown blend that's dominated by Grenache (reportedly from vine cuttings from Rayas). It's fermented with just about 100% whole clusters in concrete and aged mostly in neutral puncheons and foudre, with one concrete egg. A bigger, richer wine than the No Girls cuvee, this beauty packs a punch in its black cherry, reduced strawberry, herbes de Provence and crushed violet aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, a supple, elegant style and fine tannin, this singular beauty will benefit from a year or three of cellaring and keep for 10-15 years. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93+ Points. Moderately saturated bright red. The sexy high-toned scents of cherry liqueur, rose petal, flint, olive tapenade, hot rocks and spices reminded me a bit of a warm-year Châteauneuf du Pape, which is a neat trick considering that the latter wine would probably be carrying two degrees more of alcohol. Boasts terrific innermouth lift and purity to its broad, seamless flavors of cherry, raspberry, peony, jasmine, orange peel, olive tapenade and spices complicated by smoky, salty minerality. The seriously saline finish shows fine-grained, tongue-dusting tannins and terrific subtle length. One of the most intriguing Grenache bottlings I've tasted to date from the West Coast and likely to merit an even higher score with a few years of bottle aging. No easy sweetness here, but it already offers considerable sex appeal. —Stephen Tanzer, Vinous


94 Points. Grenache seemed to handle the heat nicely in 2013 and the 2013 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard offers a gorgeous, rich, almost masculine style (especially when it’s tasted next to the No Girls Grenache) in its dark fruits, crushed herbs, mineral and leather scented profile. Even showing a touch of game with time in the glass, this beauty has fine tannin, plenty of fruit and a great finish, all suggesting it will drink nicely for another decade. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


#8 on the Top 100 Wines of 2015 – Wine Enthusiast Magazine
96 Points. Structured and backward, the 2012 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard offers lots of framboise, black cherries, bouquet garni and spice to go with a full-bodied, seamless, elegant feel on the palate. It picks up more and more tannin with time in the glass, and needs 3-4 years of cellaring, but should keep for 15 years or more. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93 Points. Supple and ripe, with a strong tapenade note weaving through the cherry and pomegranate flavors, coming together harmoniously on the plush, expressive finish. Not heavy, but has plenty to offer. Drink now through 2022. 493 cases made. —Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

96 Points. It takes some time to open up but when it does, this wine reveals perfumed aromas of potpourri, green olive, savory spices, peat, pepper and mineral. The palate is equal parts light and dense with almost chewy, savory flavors that won’t quit. —Sean Sullivan, Wine Enthusiast


96 Points. The 2011 Grenache God Only Knows is shockingly good in the vintage. Sporting a big, masculine profile, with notions of lite gunpowder, ground pepper, herbs and wild strawberry and blackberry fruit, it flows onto the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a full, rich mid-palate and a healthy dose of tannin that will require short-term cellaring to integrate. This knockout Grenache will be at its finest from 2016-2026. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

93 Points. Bright medium red. Wildly complex scents of red berries, smoked meat, iron, orange peel, flowers, pepper and olive tapenade. Fat, silky and pure, and not at all overly sweet, with distinctly soil-driven, Old World flavors of pureed wild strawberry, minerals, garrigue, truffle and smoke. A sexy carnal quality contributes to this wonderfully smooth wine’s appeal. Less liqueur-like than the typical ripe-year Chateauneuf du Pape; in fact, this wine hints at a tangy pinot quality. Finishes with lush, noble tannins and outstanding subtle length.. –Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar


93 Points. The almost all Grenache 2010 God Only Knows (named as such because the full blend is unknown, or so we’re told) is a complex, elegant version of this wine, with a Rayas-like perfume of kirsch, white pepper, stem, herbes de Provence and a gamey meatiness that comes out with air. Medium to full-bodied, silky and seamless on the palate, with juicy acidity, polished tannin and a light, clean texture, it lacks the back-end concentration of a top vintage, yet possesses brilliant purity and balance. It will benefit from short-term cellaring and impress for upwards of a decade. Drink 2015-2020. –Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate


95 Points. The Cayuse 2009 Grenache Armada Vineyard God Only Knows (named for the otherwise unspecified roughly 10% share of this that he claims isn’t Grenache) was cropped at only a ton and a half per acre (ca. 20 hectoliters per hectare) because, as Baron puts it, “we are struggling every year just to get Grenache ripe. But we love it for the challenge,” he hastens to add. “Even a monkey can make a great Syrah, but Grenache , We’ve got 7 acres of this grape now,” compared with more or less 25 of Syrah, he reports, commenting: “You’ve got to be crazy!” Fresh strawberry and elderberry are tinged with birch bark extract, black tea, and basil, making for an aromatically intriguing and lip-smacking palate presence. An upwelling of beef marrow and a Syrah- (or Gewurztraminer-) like hint of smoked meat add to the wine’s saliva-inducing savor. Here is a really vivid illustration of how the best Washington wines offer nearly luxuriant richness and sweet berry intensity but at the same time exhilarating vibrancy and lift. And, true to Baron’s repeatedly stated intentions, there are – beyond salt, stone, and smoky aura of black tea – elements impinging on this wine’s superbly sustained finish that can only be called “mineral,” even if one can’t find further words for them. I suspect this will be worth following for at least a decade. –David Schildknecht, The Wine Advocate

95 Points. This Grenache leaps into another dimension, with more concentration, earth, umami and salinity than ever before, yet it retains its elegance thanks to a crisp finish of raspberry and rock flavors. Reminiscent in a way to high-altitude Argentine Malbec, this will cellar well for a decade or more. –Paul Gregutt, Wine Enthusiast

93 Points. Good medium-dark red. Very ripe aroma of strawberry liqueur. Intensely flavored and gripping; broad without coming across as heavy. Wild berry and smoke flavors are accented by a peppery element. Finishes subtle and long, with substantial fine, dusty tannins. –Steven Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

96 Points. This is a fantastic aged wine with earth, spices, dried strawberries and grilled meat. Basalt undertones. Full to medium body and fine and open tannins. Love the finish to it. This is like a classic aged Chateauneuf. Drink or hold. —James Suckling, jamessuckling.com


97 Points. The Rhone-style wines begin with the 2008 God Only Knows Grenache, a wine raised in neutral oak puncheons. Fragrant cherries, garrigue, lavender, and exotic spices inform the nose of a silky, complex, beautifully proportioned wine that will deliver pleasure for a least a decade. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate


96 Points. ...According to Baron, it is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% “God only knows”, hence the name. It was aged in puncheons (500-liter barrels) from Cote-Rotie producer Rene Rostaing. Dark ruby-colored, it sends up a sensational aromatic array of mineral, underbrush, truffle, bright cherry and raspberry aromas. Incredibly intense, vibrant, and lingering on the palate, this superb effort will surely evolve as well as any great Chateauneuf-du-Pape. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate


97 Points. ...Dark ruby-colored, it exhibits a sensational bouquet of mineral, underbrush, mushroom, bright cherry and raspberry aromatics. Incredibly intense, vibrant, and lingering on the palate, this superb effort will surely evolve as well as any great Chateauneuf-du-Pape but with no track record, there is only one sure way to find out. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate


96 Points. The red wines start with the 2005 Grenache God Only Knows – Armada Vineyard, the first release of this wine. It was produced from yields of 1 ton per acre with 75% of the crop dropped on the ground. Cherry preserves, kirsch, and raspberry are the primary notes both aromatically and on the palate. It is super-expressive and mouth-filling with a very long finish. “High density vineyards and low yields are the secret to Grenache,” says Baron. –Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate

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