I have been interested in Southern Rhone wines since the mid-1980’s. Most of them have been based upon Grenache in some way. While I have worked with Syrah since the early 1990’s it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later that I began a relationship with Grenache at Kick Ranch, a vineyard which gave rise to this blend as well as a varietal Grenache. My idea is to get both the Grenache and Syrah in equivalent prominence according to the vintage. They bring different elements to the table which also varies somewhat according to the vintage character.
I find the aroma alluring. Red fruits, plum, white pepper and rose hips on the nose, it emerges on the palate with these flavors in reverse order. This all rests on a gentle shelf of tannin mid-palate that melts away as the acidity gradually brings the mouth-watering finish that invites another sip or another bite of food. The two varieties are alloyed in a way that neither shows more than the other. There is a nice balance of fruit to non-fruit elements with the savory/herbs leading the charge from the newly opened bottle. It exhibits a flow of elements that I appreciate about Southern Rh0ne wines before the stylistic shift to riper end of the scale in the mid 1990’s: Good structure, nice mid-palate notes are allowed to slide in and out as the experience glides to completion.
The 2015 vintage is 38% Syrah and 62% Grenache. Compared to the 2014 (53% Syrah and 47% Grenache) the main difference is that 2014 reflects more concentration of skin materials due to the drought-like conditions of the growing season. A higher proportion of Syrah was necessary to rise to the overall concentration the two varieties had in 2014. These two vintages, all the fruit came from Kick Ranch. In more recent vintages I have used Syrah from Calypso and/or Lolita and sometimes included Grenache from Diablo Vineyard, so I decided not to get limit myself to a vineyard designated blend.