VARIETAL & VINEYARD:This Southern Rhône-style wine is 79% Grenache, 15% 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 creek-side 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. We routinely drop 40 to 50% of the clusters early in the growing season to facilitate depth and complexity in the wine.
VINTAGE: 2016 is one of our most successful vintages across the board for Unti. Normal winter rainfall was followed by a fairly normal growing season. Cool August weather allowed the fruit to develop nice flavors and structure before harvesting September 20th through September 30th . Our aggressive crop thinning of Grenache and Mourvedre is resulting in fuller bodied wines with more Rhone-like character.
WINEMAKING: We ferment all of these individual wines in small open top tanks after a five-day cold soak, the fermentation began spontaneously with indigenous yeast and lasted a little over two weeks. 20% of the grapes were fermented as whole clusters, a traditional method used to provide tannin structure, and more importantly a peppery aroma found in Gigondas or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. We chose not to include stems in the Mourvedre in order to avoid some green tannin. It worked, as this wine shows a seamless texture. We age Grenache based reds in a 620-gallon foudres, a size commonly used in the Rhône. These large barrels preserve the vineyard character by minimizing both oak extraction and oxidation.
STYLE/DESCRIPTION: This 2016 Grenache is a great example of what crop thinning can do for Grenache. This wine is dark for Grenache, with intense aromas of pepper, raspberry, cherry, blackberry, tar, licorice, and dried herbs (enough with the descriptors!). Our 2016 Grenache has plenty of body and texture, with undeniable tension between fruit and spice. This full-bodied Grenache wine should age nicely over the next 4-6 years.
HARVESTED: 9/20, 9/24, 9/27, 9/30, 2016 @ 26.5 BRIX AVG.
BLEND: 79% GRENACHE , 15% SYRAH, 6% MOURVEDRE
ALCOHOL: 14.8 %
AGING: 14 MONTHS 620 GAL FOUDRE and 2-4 year old French oak barrels
CASES PRODUCED: 638