The Grenache for this bottling is dry-farmed in red alluvial loam and gravel. Big diurnal temperature swings in this plot and a long growing season conspire to allow the farmers to pick the fruit when its physiologically ripe but with a lower Brix level. This wine is 12.9% alcohol, which is rare in California Grenache.
The fruit was whole-cluster fermented with carbonic maceration, and all fermentations (carbonic, yeast, and bacterial) were spontaneous. The wine was not sulfured during fermentation (although it was, presumably, at bottling). It rested in neutral French oak for 7 months and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The result is light, limpid raspberry color with a clear rim; it looks youthful. The aromas are lovely: Not just fruity — the carbonic is evident in its candied, pink berry quality and the fruit essence of black raspberry and cherry — but also inflected with a sense of pine, rosemary, pink grapefruit’s pulp and peel. It’s ripe without being over-ripe, which Grenache can be so easily; consider Châteauneuf-du-Pape. There is also good structure here, and although it’s not an age-worthy wine, its squeaky tannins add gravitas.
Serve it with a light chill, as you might Beaujolais Nouveau, but expect a lot more interestingness. Try it with salads, barbecue, the aïoli platter, charcuterie, pasta, pork, roast poultry, pâté. It’s almost the perfect cheese wine and will go with nearly every style, from fresh to washed rind to blue to cheddar.
2018 Breaking Bread Grenache Redwood Valley Mendocino County
12.9% abv | $24 (sample); 175 cases made