The Tenshen Overview
Tenshen is a side project by two industry vets. Joey Tensley (Tensley Wines, Carina Cellars, Santa Ema) and Alex Guarachi (Guarachi Family Wines, Guarachi Wine Partners) have been releasing Rhone-style blends under this label since 2014.
When I first heard of the partnership, I was bemused. Their work habits are both polarizing and polar opposites. Joes is one of the most laid back dudes in the trade. He never seems like he’s breaking a sweat. But don’t let that demeanor fool you, he not only runs his own winery but is the consulting winemaker for other wineries, both in California and in South America.
On the other hand, Alex is a firecracker with a short fuse. He built up his wine import company from the ground up and then opened up a Napa winery. He’s brilliant, but his leadership style is more Philly than Los Angeles, and that rubs the locals the wrong way. The name “Tenshen” is apt for this project.
The label releases three Rhone-style wines every year: red, white, and a rose. This review of for the Tenshen 2016 White. The blend is are the classical Rhone varietals: Viognier, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc. There is also a bit of Chardonnay, as well. Aged in old barrels and stainless steel, there are zero oak flavors on display here. The barrels were largely used for malolactic fermentation.
The Wine Review
Instead of oak, this wine is an ocean of creamy fruit and salinity. Aromas of ripe peaches and verbena are elegant and decadent as the Weimar Republic. The texture is lush and full-bodied, and flavors layered with complex earthy butterscotch (like a petri dish of Streptococcus anginosus, for all you science nerds out there). Burnt orange peel and peach notes rise into a mineral-deep finish that bid you farewell with a poof of exotic tree fruit.
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