VARIETAL/VINEYARD: This Southern Rhône-style wine is 79% Grenache, 13% Syrah, and 8% Mourvedre. The primary component of this blend comes from a 2.9-acre block, planted in 1998 to three selections of Grenache Noir, and Mourvedre, 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. Over the years we have learned how important crop-thinning is to making compelling, Grenache-based wine. It is the difference between CDP and CDR. The Syrah in this blend comes from Northern Rhône clones 174 and 877, located on our winery parcel. Our vines are planted on low-vigor rootstock to 4’x 6’ spacing.
VINTAGE: 2019 will certainly go down as one of THE great vintages for our Grenache. Heavy winter rainfall allowed us to dry farm our Rhône varietials on the winery parcel. We had a warm, but moderate growing season, especially in August/ September. This allowed our fruit to develop nice flavors, structure, and complexity. This was especially true with our Mourvedre, which really makes this wine more Rhône-like.
WINEMAKING: We de-stem the berries and pump them into small open-top tanks for fermentation. 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 apparent in this 2019. Our Syrah includes some whole clusters, to enhance floral, spicy aromas. As is done in the Rhône, we blend Syrah for additional depth and structure. The wines are aged in neutral oak to preserve the vineyard character.
STYLE/DESCRIPTION: 2019 is a perfect example of what crop-thinning, combined with a great vintage, can do for Grenache and Mourvedre. Like in 2016, our 2019 Grenache has intense aromas and flavors, with excellent tannin structure. Both the Grenache and Mourvedre contributed a savory complexity that one might crudely describe as “Frenchy.” As expressive and fruity as this wine is now, our 2019Grenache has will continue to improve over the next 4 to 6 years. - MU