Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Priest Ranch 2018 Grenache Blanc, Napa Valley

There are many wonderful white wines but I really love Grenache Blanc. It is a white wine that typically has body, texture, acidity and freshness….everything I want from a white wine. This week I opened up the Priest Ranch 2018 Grenache Blanc from Napa Valley. As I played a fun game of dominoes with my parents, we sipped on this wine. Before we knew it, the bottle was empty, which I think it is pretty good sign. That is why the Priest Ranch 2018 Grenache Blanc is the Please The Palate wine of the week.

A cousin of the red grape Grenache, Grenache Blanc originated in Spain where it can still be found. It spread to France where it is the fourth most widely planted white grape in France and can be found in many white blends in the Rhône valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A rich, full bodied wine with bright flavors, it adds crisp acidity to many wine blends.

In California, there are 636 acres planted, with 362 bearing fruit, according to the California Grape Acreage Report 2019 Crop. The majority of Grenache Blanc in California is planted in San Luis Obispo County. The same report says there are only seven acres of Grenache Blanc planted in Napa Valley and most of that is part of Priest Ranch.

Priest Ranch is an historic estate established in 1869 by James Joshua Priest, a Gold Rush prospector. In 2004, the 660 acre property was combined with a 955 acre estate in Elder Valley to create Somerston Estate. The entire property is 1,615 acres with 230 acres planted to vineyards.

The Grenache Blanc is sourced from a 4.9 acre vineyard planted at an elevation of 1,250 feet. The grapes were fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel. The wine spent eight months in tank, on the lees, before bottling.

The wine is a pale straw color and translucent. It has beautiful aromatics that include stone fruits (peach, nectarine), tropical fruits (pineapple), melon, pear and citrus. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied with elegant acidity. Floral and mineral notes are found on the palate. The Priest Ranch 2018 Grenache Blanc, Napa Valley retails for $22. While we enjoyed sipping it on its own, this is a wine to enjoy with soft cheese or Thai cuisine.