2019 Cuvée Foudre
VARIETAL/VINEYARD: Cuvée Foudre comes from three of our finest vineyard blocks: Alban clone Grenache, Tablas Creek clone Mourvedre, and Syrah clones 174/ 877, all planted in 1998 on the winery parcel. These have proven to be our most Rhône-like vineyard blocks. We aggressively reduce the crop during the growing season to facilitate the concentration of aromas, flavors, and structure. All of our vineyards are farmed organically.
VINTAGE: Heavy rainfall in February allowed us to essentially “dry farm” our vines in 2019. The summer growing season was warm, but moderate, which allowed for superior flavor and tannin development—as evidenced by slightly later-than-normal harvest dates; from the 26th of September to the 13th of October. This is especially evident in our ’19 Grenache and Mourvedre, which are particularly strong. Combined with our strict crop-thinning protocol, 2019 will definitely go down as a great vintage for Dry Creek Valley reds.
WINEMAKING: Over the years we have learned that to make a full bodied and complex Grenache-based red, you need to maintain low yields and harvest Grenache at the late stages of ripeness. The 2019 CF is a return to a blend that is more evenly split between GR, MV, and SY, thanks to a particularly strong Mourvedre. All of these lots were fermented in either small open-top or concrete tanks. We age this wine in a 620-gallon large oak cask the French call a “foudre”. We prefer large casks for our Grenache blends because they preserve the primary fruit character, without imparting oak. 40% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah.
STYLE/DESCRIPTION: Cuvée Foudre is our attempt at making a Rhône blend worthy of the best Châteauneuf- du- Papes. Not surprisingly, it has been our most critically-acclaimed wine. In 2019, our Grenache, and especially Mourvedre play a starring role in making this a more French like wine—both in complexity and tannin structure. Intense fruit and pepper lead to a firm and serious version of a Rhône blend. Is the ‘19 our best CF? You can decide. I would include it in the conversation. And yes, this wine will age well over the next 6 to 10 years. - MU