Shatter, My Love Story of a French Red Wine

Shatter is a Grenache from Maury in the Roussillon region of France and is the love child of Dave Phinney (Orin Swift – The Prisoner) and Joel Gott (Joel Gott Wines) and is imported by Trinchero Family Estates.

These grapes are grown in a slate like rocky soil called black schist that is nutrient poor but retains heat well, allowing the grapes to reach full maturity while experiencing cool nights.

Strong winds and hot days cause shatter in the grape clusters, naturally thinning the fruit from the vines, producing intensely concentrated flavors.

Here is a video of Dave & Joel sharing how this venture came to be:

I loved this wine upon first sip.  I found it quite intense in color and flavor with dark berry and cherry leading to soft tannins and a luscious lingering finish.  The longer this sat in the glass the more time it had to reveal its complexity and boldness.  French wine made by  California winemakers….A match made in heaven.  Delicious – Buy some!

Once I heard of the Dave-Joel-Trinchero connection I knew why I loved it!  You’ve heard of 6 degrees of separation….well I have somewhat of a 3 degrees of separation story about these guys so here it is.

A couple of years ago I attended a small trade tasting featuring Joel Gott wines and Joel himself was there.  As this was a rather small event pretty much everyone got (Gott – haha) one on one time to pick his brain.  As I was gushing about my love of St. Helena, California and Taylor’s Refresher which is now called Gott’s Roadside (his family owned burger joint), Joel was giving me dining recommendations for our next visit.

I was fat fingering them into my phone as fast as I could and screwing it up royally.  I became quite flustered and broke out into a sweat.  Joel being the lovely human being he is, took pity on me and offered to put them into my phone.  JOEL TOUCHED MY PHONE – HE TYPED INTO MY PHONE!!  It may not seem like a big deal to you guys but I was beside myself!!  I did manage to act cool about it – until Hubby and I got in the car and THAT WAS ALL I TALKED ABOUT.  I am not one to be star struck but I am definitely Wine Struck.  I eat, breathe, and DRINK wine.  Any event that showcases a winemaker – I’m there!  Call me a Wine Groupie, Wino, Lush – I don’t care – I just love everything there is about wine.  Walking through a vineyard and visiting the vines and touching the grapes speaks to me in a way I just can’t explain.  It’s in my blood and part of my soul…..

So now, Dave Phinney…

The last time in the Napa/Sonoma area we stayed at  a lovely B&B in Calistoga called Chateau De Vie.   It boasts amazing breakfasts, lovely rooms, gracious hosts Peter and Philip and charming grounds with a 2 acre vineyard.

View from our room of Chateau De Vie Vineyards

During our stay we were offered a glass of the A-Ma-Zing Chateau De Vie Cab.  The nose was reminiscent of something I’ve had before but couldn’t place and the taste was oh so familiar.  It was then mentioned that their good friend Dave offered to help them out with the grapes from the 2 acre vineyard.  Dave……Dave Phinney.  That’s when the light bulb went off.  Orin Swift – The Prisoner (which is a Zinfandel blend) that, to this day, I still can’t get enough of.

Now, Trinchero Wines….

At a trade tasting we tried four of the upper end wines Trinchero offers and winemaker Mario Monticelli, was in attendance to share his expertise with us.  Again, I was Wine Struck.  This was a small event as well, so I was able to monopolize Mario until Hubby gave me the stink eye.  It probably worked against me that Mario has an Italian accent because I just wanted to hear him speak……anything… didn’t really matter – as along as it sounded Italian….I was mesmerized.

So there you have it, my brush with wine celebrities and my love Grenache and the Trinchero wines.

Cheers to you and drink good wine!

16 thoughts on “Shatter, My Love Story of a French Red Wine

      • Hi Cheryl,
        Just picked up a bottle of Shatter at Frye’s. Can’t wait to try it! I have been following Dave Phinney/Orin Swift for a number of years. It’s hard to find his new wines in No. Virginia so I am really excited that I got this tip from your blog while in town!! Happy New Year!

        • Have you tried his new venture called Locations? The “E” is a Garnacha/Tempranillo blend from Spain that is Delicious. The “F” is a Granche/Syrah/Cab/Cab Franc/Petit Verdot blend from France. It is wonderful! This is made for the American palate, meaning it’s not as earthy as some French wines can be. It’s definitely more complex than the “E” with big fruit and a nice smooth finish. We call it the mini Prisoner. There is an open bottle in the kitchen from last night so I just poured myself a glass before commenting (Hey-it’s past 5 o’clock in VA!) Yep, still as Ah-mazing the 2nd day! Both of these wines can be found at the Fry’s Signature and the far North Scottsdale Safeway for $15-ish. When you buy 6 or more (of any wine) you get an additional 10% off. In my book, that’s a steal! Both labels are a white oval shape with the letter in the middle. I’ve been working on a post about these 2 wines and your interest in Dave has encouraged me to get my act together….Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!!

          • Yes! My father in law and I went wine shopping at AJs so I could get my in-laws some Prisoner and we found the E and F. Tried the F — it was great–and will try the E soon. Can’t wait to read your next post! 🙂

    • Glad you stopped by! I found the Trinchero Meritage to be my favorite and the best part is, it’s about half the cost of their other high end wines.

  1. Cheryl, your enthusiasm for wine flows through your writing. You have a way of getting your readers excited to try whatever it is you’re drinking! Um, and, yeah, I need a trip to that B&B. Would love waking up to that view! We were able to visit that area a few years ago and had one of the best meals EVER in a place called Mustard’s in Yountville. I can still taste it.

    • Thanks Heidi! We should meet at Ron’s store sometime…he has some really interesting wines by the glass. As for Mustard’s – been there – Love the food! They have a garden on premise that is used for most of their produce needs and the owner Cindy Pawlcyn, is a restaurant genius who has been involved in many great food ventures over the years.

  2. The Prisoner is such a great wine. WIll look out for Shatter, too. That pic from B&B looks great. Boom Boom and I want to go back to Napa. Last time we were there was before we got into wine. Now it’s going to be dangerous!

    • There are sooo many cool places to stay in the Napa/Sonoma (even Healdsburg) area! From what I understand, Shatter is highly allocated where as The Prisoner, is more available. Check the more boutique style wine shops in your area. Good luck and Cheers!

  3. You had me at Dave Phinney! I LOVE The Prisoner. Wish we had wine bars in our Colorado grocery stores. I will definitely be on the lookout for Shatter. Thanks for introducing me to the phenomenal burgers at Taylor’s Refresher, too. I feel so old because I got the Jagger reference in the Maroon 5 song!

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