Spur of the Moment Local Grenache Day at Plan B and Cantara Cellars


Speaking of local wines and wineries that will be attending and pouring at today’s “A Taste of VC”, on last week’s Grenache Day Friday Sept 16, the wine samples of Garnacha from Spain that I was expecting didn’t arrive leaving me free to taste whatever I wanted! I was planning on opening one from The Ojai Vineyard or Twisted Oak from my cellar, but as I was at an afternoon meeting in Camarillo, on my way home I stopped by both Cantara Cellars in Camarillo and Plan B Wine Cellars in Ventura for a spur of the moment locally made Grenache!

Because I couldn’t let Grenache Day go by without drinking one of my favorite wines! Read why here.

The Cantara GSM is super light in color, so much so that to look at it you might think it’s a pinot noir or even a rose. But when you give it a swirl, a sniff, and a sip, it’s clear that this is definitely grenache with plenty of spice and cranberry!

2013 Cantara Cellars GSM is 100% Lodi fruit, and consists of 80% Grenache with 15% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre which gives is some nice earth notes as well, plus you’ll find some vanilla and oak. This wine will remind you a lot of winter holidays! It hasn’t been released yet but it will probably retail in the $35 range.

Specializing in wine from Lodi, the Cantara Cellars Tasting Room and Winery are open Th-Sunday 11-6 pm and located at 126 Wood Road, Suite 104 Camarillo, CA 93010. Phone: (805) 484-9600. Please note that Chris opened this up for me special for Grenache Day so I could taste it — and then was gracious enough to send the rest of the bottle home with me so I was able to enjoy it over the next few days.

While it was accessible immediately after opened at the winery, over time it showed more complexity and time tamed some of the bright tart cranberry flavors as well as the oak (which is not overpowering to start with) leaving luscious red fruit and vanilla. This wine paired well with chicken and burgers; I wanted to try it with lamb but didn’t have the opportunity before it was gone!

After Cantara, I mosied down the freeway to Plan B Cellars which, like Cantara is located in an industrial section of town with expansive views of our local agriculture. And like I mention in the tweet, the pale pink sunset matched the pale rose of their rose of grenache!


I love that Plan B has a growler program and even though this was a spur of the moment Grenache Day visit, I had my Plan B wine growler in the car and took advantage of the fact that there was a barrel of rose of grenache to fill it for around $20.

This rose is very much in the tradition of the dry French roses of Provence so if your dad or sis or grandmother likes a sweet white zin, this is not the wine for them. (Although you could try!)

If you are looking for a refreshing acid driven bright wine that will pair with just about everything from chicken mole to Christmas tamales to turkey burgers to holiday hams, you’re in the right place. Yes, try a little heat or a little sweet!

Plan B had two grenache on the tasting room sampler list and it is always such a delight to do a vertical –even if it’s is only of two wines!

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All of Plan B’s grenache comes from Santa Barbara’s Happy Canyon located about as far away from the ocean as possible where it’s nice and warm during the day and cools down 30 or more degrees at night–perfect for grenache and other rhone grape vines.


One of the benefits of tasting two vintages of the same wine from the same place made by the same person is you can see what a difference a year can make: aging and vintage.

And yes these two are wildly different! But is one better than the other? It’s a matter of opinion– while I liked them both, I preferred one over the other yet another gentleman in the tasting room was strongly of the opinion that the other was better!


So that means YOU need to taste them for yourself! I am going to reserve my opinion (but there’s a hint in the photo above…) I’ll just say that I would be grateful to find either one in my glass and I hope they pour one of them at “A Taste of VC”!

PS Thank you again to Chris at Cantara for gifting me a ticket to attend “A Taste of VC”! I’m on my way there now! If you can’t attend, check out my twitter feed for highlights!

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