Like the Rhone winemakers, Mick Unti chooses to blend in Syrah and Mourvedre into his predominantly Grenache based wine to add depth, color, and complexity. He likens this vintage of Grenache to a Gigondas with high fruit tones and lots of pepper.
In 2004, the Untis began using biodynamic vineyard practices designed to make the vines more self-sustaining and adaptive to their natural environment.
Color: garnet red
Aromas: raspberry, blackberry, tar, licorice, pepper, dried herbs
Varietal: 77% Grenache, 17% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre
Case production: 990
From their website:
VARIETAL & VINEYARD: This Southern Rhône-style wine is from the creekside vineyards planted in 1998. The primary component of this blend comes from a 2.9 acre block, planted to three clones of Grenache Noir. The bud-wood comes from Tablas Creek and Alban Vineyards. These clones, selected from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, give darker color and better structure than the majority of Grenache planted in California.
VINTAGE/HARVEST: The late growing season forced them to patiently wait until the grapes were very ripe, or as the French would say, surmaturite, which is when Grenache develops its most interesting flavors.
VINIFICATION: Thirty percent of this wine was fermented using whole clusters. Retaining the stems helped provide bright fruit and pepper aromas. The wine was aged in 620 gallon foudres, which are commonly used in the Rhône. These large barrels preserve the vineyard character by minimizing both oak extraction and oxidation. It is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
STYLE/DESCRIPTION: The 2006 is more like a Gigondas – meaning it has higher tone fruit and pepper with bright acidity. It has intense aromatics of raspberry, blackberry, tar, pepper, licorice, and dried herbs. Fruit forward, this Grenache has the stuff to last at least 3 to five years, but should really start showing well in two years. written by Mick
Eat with: charcuterie platter. pâté, rillettes and terrine.
Here is a link to an interesting twelve week Cellar Rat wine experience with journalist Ella Lawrence at Unti Vineyards: