Value Alert: 2007 Betts & Scholl Grenache "The O.G"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Editor's Note: I blog less frequently when I'm not in the best of moods, hence the quiet period here the last couple weeks. Steve Jobs' passing last week was, I think, the closest thing to Walt Disney dying this generation is going to experience. I teared up a little when I told my 6 year old.

What impressed me most about Jobs was his ability to innovate in so many domains and across so many unique products. His ability to give people a sense of childlike wonder made people feel like with technology - anything is possible. 

Rest in peace, Steve. You are and will be missed.

Ever since I tasted this wine at the 2011 Wine Spectator Grand Tour in Boston (review) I've had an eye out for it. After tasting through some amazing but drying wines at the event from Bordeaux and Barolo, Mike O'Connell Jr from Upper Falls Liquors suggested I check out the 2006 Betts & Scholl "The O.G." Grenache. His recommendation was on the money.

I know what you're thinking...a $29 "value" from Australia? Why spend more than $10 in the region for a 90 point wine? Right?

There are so many ultra-ripe fruit bombs and otherwise high priced stewy disasters coming out of the region - it makes me hesitant to plop down more than $15/btl. However, this wine breaks the mold for what I've come to know of Australian wine, which has been mostly Shiraz.

Betts & Scholl is a unique producer. I wasn't aware until doing some research that they're not necessarily Australian producers. They're a partnership between US-based Master Sommelier Richard Betts and collector Dennis Scholl. Betts described their 2001 bottling as a "warm climate analogy of Pinot Noir" on Wine Library TV in 2007. I totally get that.

In addition to Australia, they produce other red and white wines from California and France ranging from $29-$79.   The O.G. stands for "Original Grenche" (I was thinking Original Gangster) but they also make a $49 Australian Grenche called "The Cronique". If you get the sense these guys listened to a lot of rap music in the early 90s you might be right. Word has it they named it The Cronique because it was hard to stop drinking and Andre Young (Dr. Dre) was one of the first customers to pick up a case. Interesting stuff.

Here are my notes on the 2007 Barossa Grenache:

2007 Betts & Scholl The O.G. Grenache Barossa Valley
$29 Release Price
14.5% Alcohol
1,300 Cases Produced

As light as a domestic Pinot Noir visually, but it packs a flavorful punch. Raspberries and strawberries atop vegetal notes aromatically. Surprisingly dense on the palate given its visual transparency. Flavors of sweet spice (cinnamon?), black cherries, and just a touch of heat (14.5% alcohol). Quite luscious. I like it. I really like it.

92/100 WWP: Oustanding

Winery website

Highly recommended viewing:
Richard Betts on Wine Library TV (vintage! Back from 2007)

Purchased at The Urban Grape in Chestnut Hill, MA.


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