Shatter Grenache is Better Than A S’More

Strike A Pose
Autumn in Central Iowa has been picture-perfect glorious this year.

Warm, sunny days with brilliant blue skies serve as a backdrop to the vivid colors of foliage and late-blooming flowers.


Nighttime temperatures dip into the chilly zone making it perfect for huddling around the bonfire.  My wine for these chilly-night bonfires has to be one with weight and full body.  It needs to have serious warming power!

The WOW!
Revisiting an old favorite of mine, the Shatter Grenache, made sense.

Vines for this wine are found in the Roussillon region of France where the soil is made of sharp shards of black schist rock and the strong winds and hot temperatures create an environment almost inhospitable to anything growing.

But these old Grenache vines have long roots and stubbornly continue to produce fruit.  The harsh conditions cause the vines to drop many of their leaves and grapes each year, an event known as “shatter”.

Things Get Interesting Now
Those few remaining, bedraggled grapes get all the plants’ energy and focus, resulting in grapes just popping with rich, concentrated juice.  The result is a wine loaded with flavor, texture, earth, wind (yes, I think I can taste it), and glorious power.

This WOW Totally Beats a S’More
I had a 2010 Shatter on hand and poured glasses to pass around.  Given some interference from the smoky bonfire, aromas are intense.  Strong oak, herbs and dark dried fruits with a hint of vanilla float out from the glass and mingled with the bonfire smoke.

Flavors of ripe blackberry and plum mingle pleasantly on the front palate.  Smoke and spices along with oak and tobacco leaves continue after the ripe fruits.  Tannins on the finish are firm and fold into a strong spicy warmth.  Shatter is 100% Grenache and packs a 15% alcohol content creating a wine full of powerful flavor yet it remains accessible and comfortable on the palate.

Shatter kept us warm along with the heat from our bonfire on this Autumn night.  We may have even had a few s’mores.

About the author: Sue Navratil

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