93 Pts 2020 Grenache, “En Passerillage”

2020 Grenache, “En Passerillage”

Santa Maria Valley

Grenache is said by some to resemble Pinot Noir, in so far as its need for gentle extraction and susceptibility to oxidation; the variety does not have the “density,” if you will, of more structured varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, thus any edges or flaws (such as astringency or bitterness) tend to stand out in greater relief. Since this vintage was the first time, I had the pleasure to work with grapes from the Rancho Réal Vineyard, it seemed useful to experiment with different approaches to phenolic extraction. We split the lot of grapes into two and adopted a punchdown regime with one and a pump-over regime with the other. The pump-over tank was initially more expressive than the punchdown one, but ultimately, I felt that the punchdown technique led to more structure and depth in the resultant wine. As with the Syrah, we allowed the Grenache grapes to air dry on paper mats for three days prior to re-collection, with the aim of lignifying stems and (pardon the anthropomorphism) allowing the grapes to recompose themselves prior to the onset of fermentation. The wine was aged in larger vessels to minimize the amount of oxygen ingress in its élevage.

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