2014 Tierra Alta Grenache
Tierra Alta Vineyard is a dramatically steep site that is full of chalky white limestone. It’s because of this soil profile that these wines always carry a strong streak of minerality.
The wide variation between the tops and bottoms of the slopes contribute to the energy in the wine. Richness and power from lean soils at the top of the hill; juiciness and freshness from the heavier solids at the bottoms. This dynamism also plays out in the micro-climate of the area.
Tierra Alta is perched at the northern end of Ballard Canyon. The fog pushes and pulls against it almost every day during the growing season - filling up the canyon in the morning and emptying out in the evening. To be sure, Ballard Canyon is a cooler part of the Santa Ynez Valley and as a result, produces wines that show more flavors from that spectrum.
To make this wine, we hand-harvested the fruit, and left about 17% of the whole clusters in the fermentation - the rest was destemmed. After a 3 - day cold soak, we let the wine warm naturally and fermentation started. We punched down 1-2 times / day and pressed after an extended maceration of about 30 days on skins. The wine was aged in neutral French oak and wasn’t racked until bottling. We bottled 96 cases of this wine.
The result is a big, dense wine that shows the opulent side of Grenache. Dark cherries, plums, spices, and new leather explode from the glass in a wine built on richness. The inclusion of 17% whole clusters gives some balance to the wine’s intensity, introduces some dried herb savoriness, and gives lift to the flavors.