Dry Creek Valley
SEPT.16,22,24 (G + M) SEPT. 24, 2014
13 MONTHS, 620 gal FOUDRES, CONCRETE TANKS, NEUTRAL FRENCH OAK BARRELS
12/7/15, 1,008 cases produced.
2014 was one of our finest vintages for Grenache. A warm, dry summer was followed by a dry fall, resulting in a very early harvest date. We always reduce our Grenache crop by a minimum of 40-50% in mid-to-late June. Crop-thinning helps create better flavors and structure, which is very obvious with this 2014 wine. We harvested Grenache in mid-September, which is quite early for us. We picked Mourvedre early on September 24th. The Syrah portion of the blend from our winery block was harvested September 15th.
This 2014 Grenache shows that it is possible to make a wine with the power and complexity of Châteaunef-du-Pape here in California. It is a dark, full-bodied wine showing the classic Rhône character of raspberry liqueur, licorice, pepper, and spice. Reminiscent of the great 2007 vintage, this 2014 should age nicely over the next 4 years and last for a lot longer. I love Grenache when it performs like this. —MJU
65% of the grapes were de-stemmed and lightly crushed into small open-top tanks. The remaining 35% were whole- cluster fermented for added structure and aromatic complexity. All of our fermentations start without inoculation after approximately one week of cold soak. The open-top tanks allow us to ‘work the must’ by punching down each tank twice daily until dry. After pressing, we stirred barrels weekly, to keep fine lees in suspension to improve mouth- feel and assist malolactic fermentation. As is done in Châteauneuf-du- Pape, we blend Mourvedre and Syrah for color, body, and complexity. Most of this wine was aged in 620 gallon foudres, commonly used in the Rhône. These large barrels preserve the vineyard character by minimizing both oak extraction and oxidation. A small portion of the wine was aged in 60 gallon French oak barrels.
This Southern Rhône-style wine is 80% Grenache, 14% Syrah and 6% Mourvedre. The primary component of this blend comes from a 2.9 acre block, planted in 1998 to three selections of Grenache Noir, using budwood originally obtained from Tablas Creek and Alban Vineyards. These selections, originally from Châteauneuf-du-Pape give darker color and better structure than the majority of Grenache planted in California. Our Grenache and Mourvedre are planted at our creekside vineyard block. The Syrah in this blend comes from Northern Rhône clones 174 and 877 located beside the winery. Our vines are planted on low-vigor rootstock to 4’x 6’ spacing.