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Here’s the deal: Ya’ll know I’m not up to consuming an entire bottle of wine every Thursday, so the blog feature I debuted as “Thursday’s Bottle” fell into the weeds pretty quickly after its launch earlier this year.

Much later, in a rare moment of genius, I thought: Why not marry “Thursday” with another former attraction: The CCWP “Tasting Panel”? I pulled the plug on the latter in mid-2013 after I decided it had grown too, well, “chatty.”

So once again, with little to no fanfare (considering my track record on longevity), welcome back to “Thursday’s Bottle.”

The rules? There are none. Let’s keep it simple:

When I stumble across a single bottle of wine so spectacular that deserves its own spotlight, that wine can stand alone as “Thursday’s Bottle.”

Otherwise, a consistent group of food and wine geeks as serious as serious can be will gather around a table, sip wine, talk and take notes. At evening’s end, I’ll gather all the notes and turn them into a story. Deal? Good.

I’ll always name the “tasters” and will never exclude a comment, but so that each of us can remain candid, I’ll never divulge who said what.

Oh, wait — there is one rule: We taste blind. No exceptions.

Four of us tasted grenache at my house on Friday, Sept. 19, which was International Grenache Day. Coincidence? Think again.

The players: Katie Baillargeon and Marcel Rivera-Baillargeon, UCSB creative writing professor and online marketing specialist, respectively; Angela Soleno, winemaker/owner, Turiya Wines; and myself.

The bottles: Three grenaches, all Santa Ynez Valley, two vineyard designates.

What we wrote:

Bottle One: “Weird nose; dust; barrel; medium body; long finish; good tannin structure; mid-range; soft; burnt match, smoky; cannot get past the smoke; cotton candy; burns going down; mild fruit; think it’s corked; long finish; mildly corked; bright color; long finish; would like this if it wasn’t corked.”

Bottle Two: “More fruit; wow; bigger, more elegant; black; yummy; lots of mid-palate spice; an elegant expression of Grenache; big and jammy; fruit forward; clay; cola; spice.

Bottle Three: “Tighter; sweeter; more oak; better with food — not a sipping wine; like a teenager, needs to be aged longer; has some SO2; thicker.”

Bottle one — 2010 Sillix Wines Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley
My first encounter with winemaker Blake Sillix was earlier this year at Solvang’s Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure, and his syrah and grenache were stellar. To have this bottle be corked was beyond disappointing.

Bottle two — 2010 Samsara Wines Grenache, Larner Vineyard

Bottle three — 2011 Jalama Wines Grenache, La Presa Vineyard

Thursday's Bottle Redux, starring Sillix, Samsara and Jalama grenaches

Thursday’s Bottle, starring Sillix, Samsara and Jalama grenaches

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