“It is super-expressive and mouth-filling with a very long finish.”
—Jay Miller,
The Wine Advocate

God Only Knows Grenache

Produced: 2005 - present

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

2016

(92-95) Points. Always in the running for the best Grenache made in the United States, the 2016 God Only Knows is another terrific example of the cuvée. Sporting a medium ruby color and complex notes of herbes de Provence, forest floor, decaying flowers, and assorted red and black fruits, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, light, silky tannin, and a great finish. Again, it’s the balance and seamlessness that sets this apart. —Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com

2015

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, Wine Advocate

(95-97) Points. Just slightly lighter in color than the 2014, the 2015 Grenache God Only Knows Armada Vineyard is reminiscent of a Chambolle-Musigny with its incredible elegance and complexity. Dried flowers, raspberries, strawberries and plenty of graphite all emerge from this full-bodied Grenache that offers a rounded and graceful yet unctuous profile on the palate. It’s a gorgeous Grenache. —Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate

2014

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

2013

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

2012

#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

2011

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

2010

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

2009

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

2008

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

2007

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

2006

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

2005

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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