Southern Rhone Style Blend
Introducing the newest member of the family, Bésoleil (bay-so-lay), our Grenache-dominant red that brings immediate pleasure. Since the early 1970s we've been enjoying a range of wines made from Grenache regardless of origin: Spain, France, Sardinia, Australia and here in Washington. It carries many names and faces, but it's most famous creations are found in the Southern Rhone of France, where it's responsible for the biggest part of the blends of Chateauneuf du Pape. Sweetly scented, brilliantly flavored, these Grenache wines are seductive and have an absolute "drinkability" to them (we tasted our 2003 out of barrel at last year's Syrah release and most people wanted to take it home that day!)
Add to this Old World heritage Washington's success with the variety, albeit somewhat obscured by the darker reds so popular today. In the '70s and '80s Grenache grew to fame around here in the form of rosé made by Chateau Ste. Michelle: in several tastings it was ranked as the best rosé in America. Washington is well suited for Grenache: it loves the heat, dry soils and a late harvest. And by severely limiting the yield per vine we can achieve the concentration essential to great Grenache.
Our 2003 is made from grapes off one of our favorite sites: the Alder Ridge Vineyard. The vines are planted in a dry, south-facing bowl right on the river where they bake in the sun and yet enjoy a long hang time and later harvest because of the proximity to the Columbia River. During the growing season we dropped nearly half the fruit on the ground to achieve more concentration (just under 3 tons/acre). We fermented them gently and used one or two year old French oak barrels to mature the wine for about 12 months: the scents are so pure and sweet that I don't want new oak aromas to get in the way. Sixteen percent Red Mountain Syrah added nuance and substance to the final wine.
So here it is, all 3 barrels of our first Grenache: intense, ripe strawberry and blueberry fruit aromas, with notes of earth, leather and gravel. While not as black as our Syrahs as there's plenty of depth to round out the fruit, alcohol, tannin and body, finishing with a creamy sweet texture.
We're releasing this first vintage only to our mailing list as we made only 80 cases.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 84% Grenache
- 16% Syrah
- one or two year old (neutralized) 100% French oak barrels to mature the wine for about 12 months
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
Horse Heaven Hills:
- Alder Ridge Vineyard
- 80 Cases