Grenache is one of the world’s most widely planted grapes & at it’s best, it is one of the great wines of the world. That said, there are actually very few examples worthy of bestowing such a designation upon them.
It takes all of the right ingredients, including such things as soil, climate, & a soft touch in the winery. The soil, in particular, matters a ton. We believe that the prettiest of all Grenache comes from old vines grown in sandy soils.
In sand the colors are lighter… (& who cares, you neither taste nor smell color) & the wine develops all of the beautiful, floral, high-toned aromatics that give allure & sex appeal.
We have come to regard it as the well-endowed, warm climate analogy of Pinot Noir. We make the trek from Amsterdam to South Australia in order to work with some of the oldest Grenache vines on the planet, growing in sandy soils.
Our own vineyard, The Rza Block (estimated to have been planted between 1860-1880), is situated in the heart of the Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley in deep, white beach-like sand. The vines are head-trained, own-rooted and dry-grown. Harvest is a fairly simple affair, pick the grapes & haul them across the country road to the winery… where we ferment, partially whole-cluster, in outdoor open-top fermenters. A pass through the traditional Barossan basket press & then the wine hangs out for a year or so in only old French oak barrels.
In keeping with the belief that it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it, we believe the ‘old’ barrels give the wine time to find itself, preserve the purity of soil & grape, & set itself up for longevity. The result is an elegant, sumptuous, sexy, delicious bottle that finds its way onto our table rather frequently.
The 2016 Sucette is 100% Grenache from 2 dry-grown, own-rooted, sandy vineyards: our own Rza Block (estimated to have been planted between 1860-1880) and an 80-85-year old vineyard a kilometer away. Both vineyards are located in the heart of the Vine Vale, the coolest region of the Barossa Valley, situated at the foot of the Eden Valley in South Australia.
After the past two years of lower yields, 2016 was back to normal. A warm, dry Spring provided healthy fruit set. Summer was generally mild with intermittent rainfall, never a problem for the old vine material we use. Even ripening throughout, and ending with harvest over 3 days from April 2 to April 14. 2016 was the first vintage we used fruit from the Rza Block, with the remaining fruit being sourced from a single vineyard approximately 80-85 years old.
Thanks to healthy fruit set, even ripening and the addition of older fruit from the Rza Block, we bumped the whole cluster to 35% this year. After a 7 day ferment, we basket pressed over a slow 12-hour press cycle, and the wine spent a year in old French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The Rza Block fruit gives a very clear backbone of darker fruit here; all red fruits (rather than black), but Winter red fruits like cranberry and pomegranate in addition to the Summer strawberries and cherries. The structure of the very old vines is also on display, holding together a fantastic nugget of ripe fruit on the palate. White pepper, mint, sweetmeats, and earth.