An Approach to Relaxation Sucette Grenache 2016
The Rza Block fruit used for this wine 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, sweet meats and earth.
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The 2016 Sucette is floral and fresh despite being 14.5% alcohol, as only Grenache grown in sandy soils can be. This is from vines planted in the 19th century in the Vine Vale subregion of Barossa. Rose petals and hints of orange zest accent cherry and raspberry fruit. It's medium to full-bodied, with tender tannins that turn silky and tea-like on the long, refreshing finish. It seems almost briny and zesty on the finish, giving it extra length.
Richard Betts and Carla Rza Betts moved to Vine Vale to grow grenache in the area’s deep sands. They purchased a block of vines planted between 1860 and 1880, dry farmed across the road from their winery, where they ferment the wine with some whole clusters in open-top vats, then age it in old French oak barrels. It’s spicy and bright, a transparent raspberry red with some deeper flavors underneath. Tense, floral and juicy, this is ready to pour with roast duck.
USA born sommeliers Richard and Carla Rza Betts have a long said great Grenache is the warm climate analogy of Pinot Noir. During many miles and a fair amount of travel around the globe, they always kept their eyes open for the sandy terroir and cool climate that give the best Grenache that extra something special. Their search came to an end in Vine Vale, where they discovered a 150+ year-old Grenache vineyard (The Rza Block) set on sandy soil in one of coolest microclimates in the Barossa Valley. The vines are own-rooted, head-trained, and dry- and organically farmed. From this tiny vineyard they make their Sucette Grenache. Winemaking is low-touch, a portion of whole bunch, fermented in open-top fermenters. Grapes are basket pressed to old French oak and left to do their own thing, to preserve all the nuances this lovely old site imparts to the fruit. The result—an elegant but ample, sexy and delicious bottle that the couple say finds it’s way onto their table rather frequentl
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in the Barossa zone of South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers work diligently to ensure grapes reach the perfect levels of phenolic ripeness.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry farmed and bush trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
Grenache thrives in any warm, Mediterranean climate where ample sunlight allows its clusters to achieve full phenolic ripeness. While Grenache's birthplace is Spain (there called Garnacha), today it is more recognized as the key player in the red blends of the Southern Rhône, namely Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côtes du Rhône and its villages. Somm Secret—The Italian island of Sardinia produces bold, rustic, single varietal Grenache (there called Cannonau). California, Washington and Australia have achieved found success with Grenache, both flying solo and in blends.