Drink: Quivira 2008 Dry Creek Valley Grenache

Cabernet drinkers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!

Okay, so maybe that’s overly dramatic. But the idea is a good one. We all get stuck in ruts, whether it’s doing the same things the same way over and over or drinking the same wines, day in and day out. So shake up your palate and give your taste buds a treat with a wine outside the Cabernet-Merlot-Pinot Noir box: Grenache.

It’s a long-respected Old World grape, whether in Spain’s Rioja, Priorat and Navarra regions, where it’s blended with other grapes and bottled on its own, or in France, where it’s a major component of Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape and the fabulous roses of Provence.

It’s a lot less well-known in the U.S., almost unheard-of as a single grape varietal, which makes Quivira’s effort even more special. It exhibits all the grape’s classic characteristics, from its deep, royal purple color to its beguiling aromas of dried fruit, black and red cherries, and a big hit of cloves-allspice.

On the palate it’s equally ravishing, with bracing raspberry-cherry-plum fruit, more of that piquant sweet spice and toasty, caramel oak notes. There’s just enough acidity to keep the plush fruit honest, plus soft tannins that mean it’s ready to drink now. Despite it’s rich color and ripe fruit, however, it’s not one of those fat, stupid, overbearing wines but rather a wine that treads lightly on the palate and plays well with a variety of foods.

Chains, after all, are for prisoners. Not for drinking.