Over the past few years California wines often go to one of two extremes. They tend to either be sweet, high alcohol jam bombs that meet the likes of a few well regarded and powerful wine critics, or they tend toward the reactionary “new” school style of being intentionally low in alcohol, lean and under-ripe. Josh Phelps, a native of Napa Valley and son of a well regarded winemaker, is a millennial winemaker with a new brand called Grounded Wine Co. who is marching to his own beat. The initial release from Grounded Wine Co., a Bordeaux blend called Steady State is a truly balanced beauty. Phelps plans other new releases from growing regions in Washington State as well as Paso Robles which will be priced to be accessible to younger wine drinkers. But don’t let a low priced wine from a young winemaker fool you. If the wines to come from Grounded Wine Co . are as good as Phelps’ inaugural release, this is a guy you’ll want to follow.
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2015 Grounded Wine Co., Steady State, Bordeaux Blend
This deep ruby wine is a blend of 73% cabernet sauvignon, 8% malbec, 7% cabernet franc, 6% merlot, 6% petit verdot grown in some of Napa Valley’s most priced appellations. Great Napa fruitiness with a nod to the earthiness of Bordeaux. Flavors of black and red fruit are kept in check by earthy notes and highlights of cocoa, espresso, and pleasant minerality. Youthful grippy tannins and mouthwatering acidity will help this beautifully balanced wine age gracefully for the next 5 to 10 years.