Tuck Beckstoffer Melee Grenache 2010
Blend: 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah
It began on back country roads and among the vines. The Beckstoffer family arrived in the Napa Valley in 1975 and the young son of a future pioneer spent his days in the vineyards throughout every growing season, cultivating deep roots.
Brought up to respect the land and its fruit, Tuck naturally sought out the practice of viticulture, learning from the masters around him. Much like his father before him, he is a farmer first. It was only after he mastered the art of first craft that he turned his attention to a second craft—winemaking. Over three decades after he first set foot in the valley, Tuck bottled his first wine. For him, it was not a whim or passion project, but the culmination of a life lived on the land, among the vines.
Today, Tuck is one of the few Napa stewards who is both a grower and a winemaker. It is this pedigree that makes his approach different: the process begins with the land itself and culminates with a reverence for the winemaking traditions of the past—sharing successes and failures among fellow craftsmen and appreciating the fruits of their labor over a beautiful bottle of wine.
California is a winemaking colossus; by itself it is the fourth largest producer in the world. Red wine accounts for 56% of the total by volume, and red grapes 63% of total acres planted. In addition, a number of California red wines are heralded as being among the most prestigious and sought-after wines in the world.
While the state’s incredibly diverse geography, soils and microclimates allow for a wide array of styles, the key factor unifying California red wine is the abundance of sunshine and a long, consistent growing season. This leads to well-developed fruit marked both by impressive ripeness and balancing acidity.
The state’s most famous red wine region, of course, is Napa Valley, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns as king. But California boasts a wealth of other impressive appellations. The much larger and climatically varied Sonoma County also produces world class California Cabernet, along with wonderful examples of California Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
Fine versions of Cabernet and Zinfandel hail from Paso Robles as well, which is also gaining fame with Rhone varietals like Syrah and Grenache. As for Pinot Noir, terrific examples can be found from AVA’s such as Anderson Valley, Carneros, Santa Lucia Highlands and Sta. Rita Hills. Wineries in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are making wonderful Syrahs, and the Sierra Foothill appellations are proving to be an experimental hotbed, with Italian and Spanish varietals employed to great effect.
This of course is a mere sketch. The subject of California red wine is as deep and broad as an ocean, and absolutely a joy to explore!