Vinyl Wines 2009 EQ Grenache, Walla Walla
May 24, 2011 by Erin Thomas
*Bottle #111: Vinyl Wines 2009 EQ Grenache, Walla Walla
*Price Tag: $25
*Running Tab: $1,400
Chip McLaughlin of Vinyl Wines is masterful at the art of sorority girl style hazing. After social media attacks of the wine kind and four guilt-infused invites to Seattle area events for his Walla Walla winery that I had already missed (I’m really busy!), I finally made it to an outdoor tasting of his wines at Madrona’s most adorable recent addition, the Bottlehouse.
Sweater-clad in 70 degree Seattle weather, McLaughlin looks the part of a gentrified Capitol Hill refugee, transplanted to Walla Walla and clinging on to his city remnants for dear life. With a smile, McLaughlin effortlessly romances the crowd of middle age ladies as they giggle and sip his rose, listening to his every word as he paints the picture of his winery concept for his audience without a stutter in his stroke.
With his business partner, Spencer Richards, McLaughlin launched Vinyl Wine as an ode to new wine experiences. Offering to take wine to the next level with a music industry tie-in, Richards and McLaughlin handpick their wines alongside of their music. Each bottle label is detailed with its individual guitar riff, more often than note, a sentimental favorite of McLaughlin’s.
With the purchase of each bottle, Vinyl offers digital playlists available for download through a passcord on the cork. The playlists include local and national artists, and of course, McLaughlin himself strumming to his modern rockabilly cross house music fusion.
Makes sense for the social media attack, right?
For fear of getting hazed (kidding, Chip), I plucked a gem out of his miniature line-up to dig deeper into – the “EQ” 2009 Walla Walla Grenache.
This single vineyard single varietal wine (from a vineyard that I had never heard of and now can not remember) is true to its name.
Comparable to a bouquet of flowers from the Ballard Market (only $5!), the nose is robust with floral attributes next to lavish baking spices like cinnamon and cumin. Like most Grenache wines, the fruit was secondary to the aromas signature to the Rhone varietal.
Black berried and wide on the palate, structural acidity breaks way and releases a wine full of big flavors of boysenberry, raspberry and white pepper.
Young and playful yet focused and driven, this wine (much like its maker) is not for the faint at heart. True Grenache lovers will appreciate it for its respect to Washington terrior and devotion to Rhone varietal correctness, however, the acidity of the wine could be off-putting to wussier wine drinkers.
Just grill up some lamb chops, throw on Vinyl Wines approved tunes, pop a bottle and call it a day. With food, this wine will do all the work.