2017 Grenache 'Rossi Ranch'
The Rossi Vineyard is possibly one of the most beautiful places to grow grapes in Sonoma County. It consists of about 140 acres on gently rolling hills, about five miles southeast of Glen Ellen, bordering Jack London State Park. It boasts some of the oldest Zinfandel vineyards in California, but after the late Paul Otellini bought the property in 2002, he and his wife Sandy began a meticulous program to replant lost vines to the southern Rhône varieties Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. We began to work with the first crop of these grapes in 2010, using them for our Sage Canyon Red blend. The quality of the wine from the oldest block of Grenache vines was unmistakable from the outset, and we opted to bottle some of it as a 100% varietal. Paul and Sandy were fastidious caretakers of these vines, and their love for the land in general and this parcel in particular led them to obtain organic farming certification and to farm the property sustainably.
We hand harvested 1.16 tons of Grenache from these 14 year-old vines on September 26. The fruit was whole-cluster crushed by foot with 100% stem retention, and allowed to macerate for 35 days, fermenting with the native yeast trapped on the skins at harvest. After the fermentation tank was drained and pressed, the new wine was aged 10 months in neutral 60-gallon French oak barrels, then bottled in late June. It was neither fined nor filtered prior to bottling. The color is dark ruby, with hints of purple throughout. The aroma is an exotic combination of passion fruit, plum and black mission fig, with flavors that follow this same pattern. The wine is already attractively soft, and bears a striking resemblance to some of the best bottlings of young Châteauneuf du Pape I’ve enjoyed recently. I expect it to continue to improve for another ten years at least.