VARIETAL / VINEYARD: This Southern Rhône-style wine is 80% Grenache, 17% Syrah and 3% Mourvèdre. The primary component of this blend comes from a 2.9 acre block, planted in 1998 to three selections of Grenache Noir, using bud-wood 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 Mourvèdre 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: 2017 was a distinctive vintage for us. Almost all of our wines show bright aromatics with solid structure from acidity and tannin. Normal winter rainfall was followed by a fairly normal growing season with some normal heat spikes (especially over Labor Day weekend). Cool August weather allowed the fruit to develop nice flavors and structure before harvesting on 9/26, 10/5, and 10/11. Our aggressive crop thinning of Grenache and Mourvèdre is resulting in fuller-bodied wines with more Rhône-like character.
WINEMAKING: We de-stem the berries and pump them into small open- top tanks for fermentation. In 2017, we decided not to include whole clusters in our Grenache. The stems can sometimes absorb color and lower acidity. After a five-day cold soak, the fermentation began spontaneously with indigenous yeast and lasted a little over two weeks. We have found that lower yields can provide plenty of complexity and structure, which is definitely apparent in this 2017. As is done in the Rhône, we blend Syrah and Mourvèdre for additional depth and structure. The wines are aged in neutral oak to preserve the vineyard character.
STYLE / DESCRIPTION: This 2017 Grenache is a great example of what crop thinning can do for Grenache. This wine has intense aromas of pepper, raspberry, cherry, blackberry, tar, licorice, and dried herbs (enough with the descriptors!). While expressive and fruity, our 2017 Grenache has a sneaky tannin structure, which will allow it to improve over the next 3 to 5 years.— MU
Harvested on: 9/26, 10/5, 10/11 2017
BRIX Avg: 26.5
Blend: 80% Grenache 17% Syrah and 3% Mourvèdre
Total Acidity: 5.5 pH: 3.73 ALCOHOL: 14.9 %
Aging: 14 months in 2-4 year old French Oak and 620 Gal. Foudre
Cases Produced: 750
90 points Wine Spectator
Grenache Dry Creek Valley 2017
Score: 90 | $35
WS review: Generous and well-proportioned, with expressive raspberry and cherry flavors that are layered with notes of spicy cinnamon and savory garrigue. Drink now through 2027. 750 cases made.—Tim Fish