Vinos Finos de California, “Sabroso”
Vinos Finos de California, “Sabroso”

Vinos Finos de California, “Sabroso”

California, United States 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$35.00
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Vinos Finos de California, “Sabroso”

Keen-eyed readers will recognize the name, if not the label/bottle, of today’s quenching, charming, fascinating red blend. It has undergone several iterations since it was first introduced a few years ago, but there has been one constant: It is extremely sabroso (“tasty”)! Its maker, sixth-generation Californian Ted Glennon, has seen every facet of the wine business—as a sommelier, a wholesaler, an importer, an educator, and now, a winemaker. And with “Sabroso,” he’s telling a story he feels isn’t told enough—that of the rich history and diversity of California wine. He’s what sports fans would call a “homer.”

Based in Salinas, Glennon has cultivated close relationships with top growers throughout California, but especially in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey. For this bottling, he sources organic, old-vine fruit from vineyards in Arroyo Seco, Carmel Valley, and San Benito, fashioning a multi-AVA “California wine” in a bright, silky, easy-drinking style. Among its ingredients is an obscure variety called Cabernet Pfeffer, a.k.a. Gros Verdot or Mourtau, a “lost” Bordeaux variety that turned up in California at the end of the 1800s, but the driving force in the ’22 edition is Grenache—and rare is the wine from anywhere that captures the lifted, red-fruited, Pinot Noir-ish side of Grenache like this one does. It is brilliant, affordable, and, in the parlance of today’s cool wine kids, “crushable.” You should plan to have some close at hand, well chilled, all summer long!

Historic, organically farmed vineyards are the soul of Sabroso. The Grenache, which is the dominant component in the blend, comes from the gravelly soils of Arroyo Seco, while the Zinfandel grows at 900 feet on a granitic hillside in Carmel Valley. Complementing these two cool-climate Monterey County sites is the Siletto Vineyard in nearby San Benito, where they grow ‘own-rooted’ Cab Pfeffer in soils of deep gravelly loam.

Glennon’s new imprimatur for his growing lineup of terroir-focused wines is Vinos Finos de California (some readers may be familiar with another of his labels, Vöcal, under which this wine used to be sold). These wines are intended to be “celebrations” of California’s culturally diverse viticultural history, with special attention paid to the assorted appellations influenced by the deep, cold Monterey Bay (past vintages of “Sabroso” have included fruit from the legendary Enz Vineyard in San Benito’s Cienega Valley).

Driven by old-vine Grenache and Zinfandel, this ’22 will likely be the silkiest, most ethereal expression of these varieties you’ve ever experienced from California. Both the Grenache and Cabernet Pfeffer (a spicy, lavender-scented variety) are fermented with whole grape clusters intact, while the Zinfandel is de-stemmed. All fermentations are fueled by ambient yeasts, with daily “punch-downs” (the re-introduction of skins to juice) done by hand. It’s a youthful style, bottled after six months of aging in neutral oak, but there is enough structure for short-term aging.

There’s a kindred quality to Mediterranean Grenache-based reds like Gigondas and Cannonau di Sardegna, albeit with a more taut, cool-climate footprint. It’s a see-through ruby red in the glass with hints of magenta and pink, with a perfumed nose of ripe fruits and florals that showcase the Pinot Noir-ish qualities of Grenache. There are also purple fruits (figs, beetroot, lavender) along with red currant, blood orange, underbrush, and black pepper. It is medium-bodied and juicy, with a refreshing tanginess to the finish. Serve it in Burgundy stems at a cooler temp (50-55) for optimal results, ideally with burgers, bbq, or, in a nod to California wine’s Latinx heritage, tacos al pastor. You won’t find a better vin de soif (“wine for thirst”) anywhere!

Vinos Finos de California, “Sabroso”

United States


Columbia Valley

Like many Washington wines, the “Columbia Valley” indication only tells part of the story: Columbia Valley covers a huge swath of Central
Washington, within which are a wide array of smaller AVAs (appellations).


Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become an elite winegrowing zone in record time. Pioneering vintner David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyard, planted the first Pinot Noir in the region in 1965, soon to be followed by a cadre of forward-thinking growers who (correctly) saw their wines as America’s answer to French
Burgundies. Today, the Willamette
Valley is indeed compared favorably to Burgundy, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. And while Pinot Noir accounts for 64% of Oregon’s vineyard plantings, there are cool-climate whites that must not be missed.


Santa Barbara

Among the unique features of Santa Barbara County appellations like Ballard Canyon (a sub-zone of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA), is that it has a cool, Pacific-influenced climate juxtaposed with the intense luminosity of a southerly
latitude (the 34th parallel). Ballard Canyon has a more north-south orientation compared to most Santa Barbara AVAs, with soils of sandy
clay/loam and limestone.


Paso Robles

Situated at an elevation of 1,600 feet, it is rooted in soils of sandy loam and falls within the Highlands District of the Paso Robles AVA.

New York

North Fork

Wine growers and producers on Long Island’s North Fork have traditionally compared their terroir to that of Bordeaux and have focused on French varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

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