2014 Deep Sea Grenache, Arroyo Grande Valley
Tasting Notes: Dark in appearance but soft in style, this Grenache shows traditional notes of cherry cola, strawberry, some earthy spice and just a background hint of vanilla from the oak. The entry and mid palate are both wonderfully soft. The chewy tannins on the finish are sweet and lingering but also promise that this wine will age gracefully. Only 193 cases made.
Harvest History: The 2014 Deep Sea Grenache is our maiden voyage of Grenache at Conway Family Wines. Tom Conway became a fan of the variety through his years of tastings and seminars, and had always wanted to do a single bottling of 100% Grenache. After honing in on a style of Grenache that really captured his palate Tom felt the Grenache from the dry-farmed Potrero Vineyard in Arroyo Grande was a real candidate for making the Grenache he dreamed of. The Potrero is dry farmed, so there is no irrigation. There’s no need for crop thinning since the vine struggles for water which leads to a very small, high quality crop.
The 2014 growing season was calm, sunny, and temperate and due to the Potrero Vineyard’s sandy soil profile, and being dry farmed (as mentioned above), the crop is limited naturally. Most of the time if you have Grenache and Syrah in the exact same vineyard block- you could expect the Grenache to ripen later than Syrah, but we were thrilled that the Grenache was ready to be harvested on same day as our Syrah. 3.86 tons of Grenache isn’t a lot, but when you hand sort it Grenache tends to suffer from a nitrogen necrosis where part of the pedicel stays attached to the berry. This little green “stem” needs to be painstakingly removed by hand, so 3.86 tons took a very long time to sort ……but it was worth it!! We required the harvest to be done at night so the fruit would arrive at the winery already cold, thereby saving energy from having to mechanically cool it, and preventing spontaneous fermentation.
We incorporated a two-stage yeast inoculation using Prelude in the beginning and RC212 in the middle and end of the fermentation. The must was gently pumped over in the beginning then later switched into morning and afternoon punch-downs. The plan for this Grenache was to get it ripe enough to have a rich and sturdy texture but not so ripe as to lose all the lighter and elegant notes of bright red fruits. To help showcase those enticing floral qualities we reduced the new French Oak percentage down to only 22%. The cooper we chose was Meyrieux which we had had great results with previously in both Pinot Noir and Viognier- both very floral varieties. We racked it twice during its entire elevage, mainly to help tame the angular tannins that this variety is known for. We limited the racking to avoid potentially shortening the floral life. This blend was aged in barrel for roughly 18 months then bottled unfined and unfiltered.