2017 Grenache 'Deering Vineyard'
The west-facing slope of the Mayacamas Mountains includes a small portion of the very important Mt. Veeder AVA, one of the highest elevation points on the range. With its combination of complex soil types along with an ideal south-western exposure, it provides an excellent growing opportunity for cool climate varieties like Chardonnay and Grenache. We became familiar with this region’s Deering Vineyard a few years ago when Chuy Ordaz introduced us to owner Todd Maus. Chuy has for years farmed the nearby Vendimia Vineyard owned by the John Fisher Family, so we have been working with grapes from this area for over a decade. A visitor can’t help but be immediately struck by the extraordinary vista from this site -- almost 2000 feet above sea level – with a panoramic view stretching from Santa Rosa almost to the San Francisco Bay. The soil is a rocky mix of Basalt and Granite, with a persistent gravely loam. Todd’s small parcel of Grenache is planted to a ‘selection massale’ source of budwood rather than laboratory-designed clones, and the resulting fruit is low in yield and intensely flavored. We harvested just over 1 ton of grapes from the vineyard in late September of 2017, and after nearly 40 days of fermentation using exclusively native, wild yeast, we drained and pressed the tank, then aged the new wine in used 60-gallon French oak barrels for a year. We bottled 60 cases in July, neither fining nor filtering the wine. It’s an expressive version of Grenache, with the dry-farmed, rocky soil adding an attractive mineral element to the already charming pit fruit flavors of peach and plum that make Grenache such a compelling wine-grape variety. The newly bottled wine was immediately soft and smooth, with a long lasting, complex finish. Look for it to improve for a decade or more as those underlying mineral flavors begin to emerge.