Grenache has been grown here in Sonoma Valley for more than 100 years. It was part of the mix of varieties that make up the old plantings and Grenache contributed nice cherry fruit flavors and acidity to the assemblage. I love the old “field blends” but I’ve been particularly impressed by how well Grenache has shown when playing a leading role. This wasn’t always the case in older times, but our planting material isn’t the same as it was then. More recent selections from old vineyards in France and Spain, chosen for the color and intensity of the wines they produce, have been brought to California since the ‘90’s and the result has been some outstanding wines.
Our experience with the Estate Grenache is so convincing that I have decided to take out another block of Syrah and replace it with Grenache. The plan was to graft them over last year as I had done in 2014 but the Syrah block was showing signs of disease and we have decided to start from scratch and replant this Spring which is a much slower process. It will allow us to amend the soil, choose the rootstock and Grenache clone as well as redo the irrigation. It will be 4 years before I can make wine from those vines, and even longer before the wine club can taste the result, but I’ll have enough Grenache to look at making a varietal wine.
Or I could make more of the GSP! This blend has consistently been my fastest selling wine since the first in 2013. This new release is the 2018 and I think it has the best fruit definition of them all. There is all of the bright cherry fruit of Grenache, the roundness that comes from the Syrah and the tannin structure from the Petite sirah that seems mostly hidden by all the fruit. While it seems more accessible than the previous wines, a wine for sipping as well as with food, I’m sure it will reward with another 3-5 years in the cellar.