This is the 16th vintage of Rocks And Gravel, though, with the exception of 2008, we’ve made a similar blend each year since 1985. The idea, at first, seemed a simple one: what would a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah from California taste like? The question, of course, is too simple and has gradually evolved. Most recently the question has been more along the lines of: is this what I mean, when I think of these three grapes together in a wine? By 2015, after working with these varieties grown at Unti Vineyard in Healdsburg, I’d begun to feel like I’d come to a fairly clear idea in my own mind of what I could achieve with them. As it turned out, it would be my last vintage working with those grapes.
FRUIT SOURCE: Unti Vineyards located in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Grapes farmed practicing biodynamic viticulture.
WINEMAKING NOTES: Syrah and Grenache were picked on Labor Day, at an average Brix of 21.6. The grapes were crushed by foot, in half-ton bins, and covered with tarps. Fermentation began over the next few days, and the bins were punched down manually morning and evening. The Mourvedre was picked in the 3rd week of September. After pressing, all the wines were transferred into stainless, where the blend underwent spontaneous malolactic fermentation, after which it was racked into concrete, with the overflow into a small stainless tank. In early June it was racked back into the larger stainless variable tank, and bottled on June 28th.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Lovely light purple-red. Fresh, penetrating nose, both floral and meaty, and showing savory spice, also. Very focused flavor impressions, mouth-watering, silky and fine. The finish is refreshing and long, engendering appetite. This is such a quiet, persistent wine, a real beauty.
TOTAL PRODUCTION: Roughly 260 cases
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2016