Estar or être…. That is The Question

The Spanish and French have argued for centuries over which side of the border Grenache originates from.  In Spain it is known as Garnacha, and is the most widely planted varietal in the country.  In France it is Grenache, and is a major blending component of wines from the Southern Rhone, most famously in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.  In Italy it is known as Cannonau, and is planted mostly in Sardinia.  For whatever reason, we in the new world have sided with France on this one, and call it by its French name, Grenache (Gren-osh).  (Although history tends to suggest it did, in fact, originate in Spain).  So be it.  Grenache is the fifth most commonly planted wine grape world-wide, and for good reason: it produces phenomenal wines with a wide variation of styles and flavor profiles, no matter how you pronounce it.

In California, the varietal has a rich history.  Many of the state’s original plantings in the Central Valley were Grenache (but alas, not planted in the right zone and not all that tasty), and today it still occupies over 7,000 acres of vineyard in the Golden State.  Where the varietal really seems to shine is the Central Coast.  Here the fog-influenced climate – with cool mornings giving way to hot, wind-blown afternoons – provides a perfect zone for producing world-class Grenache wines.  And that, my dear friends, is why LUMEN makes it.

We prefer our Grenache as a 100% varietal expression.  While in many places it is blended with Syrah or Mourvedre to give it more body and darker color, our experience has taught us that it shines best by itself.  Maybe like John Lennon without the Beatles, or Michael Jackson without the Jackson 5, we find that the solo artist makes the purest music.  Our first year making Grenache we tried test-blending it with Pinot Noir, and the strange thing was that the Pinot dominated it.  So we left it alone.  The LUMEN Grenache can now sing its own aria.

The 2014 Lumen Grenache comes from two vineyards in our region: Martian Vineyard in Los Alamos, and Camp 4 in Los Olivos.  We make it exactly like we do our Pinot Noir, and the end result is a wine much like Pinot in body, but with a vastly different flavor profile.  Our Grenache is fruit-driven, with raspberry and chocolate flavors on the palate, accented by cinnamon and white pepper.  We think we are joining the forefront of a new movement that will put Grenache on the map as Santa Barbara’s next best offering to the world of wine.

Grab a hold of our new Grenache offering while it is still in stock, and don’t worry about how to pronounce it!  And while you’re at it, grab a few others to boot.  Our Newsletter members get a killer deal – 20% off!  Just use this code at checkout:


– Will Henry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

March 2, 2023
The Wild King (Pt 2): The Coming of Randall

The 2021 harvest was near. I called my winemaking partner, Lane Tanner, and asked her to find as many neutral oak barrels as we could gather – we had to accommodate extra fruit coming in. The quality in this new, mysterious vineyard was just too good to pass up. I dubbed the vineyard ‘The Wild King,’ […]

Read More
November 10, 2022
The Wild King (part one)

I was always a believer that being wild was a good thing – to a point. Be it a confrontation with a bear on a remote surf trip in British Columbia in January, or a night spent adrift on the open ocean in a boat that had lost its engine, wild is exciting, invigorating, and […]

Read More
September 19, 2022
Hey Ginger!

Some of the greatest discoveries of mankind were made by accident. Perhaps the best known (and beneficial) was made by scientist Dr. Alexander Fleming, who went on vacation for a few weeks and returned to see that his petri dishes had overgrown with mold. His discovery: penicillin. Other examples of benign errors include potato chips, […]

Read More
May 23, 2022
Let’s Get Technical

There’s a lot of geeky stuff on the back of a Lumen bottle – wine-geeky stuff. So why is it there? Not only are the basic facts listed – vineyard source, AVA, variety, clone – but also we share the pH, TA (titratable acidity), and Brix at harvest. What, you may ask, is the significance […]

Read More


Sign up with your email address to receive our newsletter and special offers from Lumen Wines!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram