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Mark McKenna
 
October 15, 2012 | Mark McKenna

Getting to Great Grenache

We take a lot of heat from fellow wine folks for two things – our sorting table and our commitment to making great Grenache. This picture is a perfect example of why the two go hand in hand. Grenache is notorious for ripening unevenly, meaning there is great variation from vine to vine and even cluster to cluster in how the grapes look, but more importantly, how ripe they are. In the picture above it's hard to believe those clusters are the same variety, never mind that they come from the same vineyard!!! Picked on the same day!!! The grapes on the left will make delicious Grenache, the grapes on the right we’d rather leave out.

To that end each and every harvest day, two to four of our cellar crew climb up on the back breaking, time consuming, torture device that we call the sorting table to dig through tons of grapes. This insures that only what we want makes it into the fermentation tanks. It seems at times tedious, until the end of days like this Grenache harvest, when you realize that sometimes what we do not put in the wine is just as important as what we do. Sure it’s tough (that’s why most wineries don’t do it), but, there are no shortcuts to delicious wine (Grenache especially!!).

A friend of ours was recently a guest of a Napa winery owner whose wines sell for well over $100 per bottle. When asked what the most important thing a winery can do to insure quality is, he answered without hesitation “Sort.” We don’t always agree with the Napa crowd, but, here we couldn’t agree more.

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