Vineyard and Region Information: The Gabilan Mountains are a sizable range of rugged granitic and calcareous limestone rich mountains that run down the East side of the Salinas Valley, in Monterey County. The Rhone varietals tend to be their most complex, interesting and revealing their true character potential and vineyard terrior when planted on steep, rocky hillsides. The Gabilans are home to two famous AVAs, Mount Harlan (Calera Wine Company) and Chalone (next to Pinnacles National Park), which have demonstrated there is indeed something special about these mountains. We sourced the Grenache and Syrah for this blend from two vineyards. The first is the 17 year old vines of the Coastview Vineyard, located six miles south of Calera's Mount Harlan AVA and perched at 2,200 ft on a mountain top. The second is the Brosseau Vineyard in the Chalone AVA which has substantial outcrops of calcareous shale in both the Syrah and Grenache blocks. The Mouvedre is from the 30+ year old Rodnick Farm Vineyard (formally Graff Family Vineyard - Dick Graff was the founder of the Chalone Wine Company and AVA). The region is hardly hospitable to any crop other than low yielding, character rich wine grapes. We believe this among the greatest places to grow Rhone varietals in California.
Wine Notes: Our 2016 vintage is a classic blend with Grenache taking center stage, but with the other varietals present in a sizable way - Grenache (45%), Syrah (30%), and Mourvedre (25%). The fruit is sourced entirely from the calcareous, limestone and granitic/quartzite soils of the Gabilan mountains. This was the first vintage of this wine where we used a 240 gallon concrete tank to age a substantial portion of the Grenache. The remained wine was aged in neutral barrels as we do not want any new oak to get in the way of the purity of this fruit.
The nose is a deep and rich melange of black and red fruits, kirch, cigar box and crushed rocks. On the palate, this is one of the most explosively fruit driven GSMs we have produced. It even brings to mind the powerful fruit that defined the Paderewski Vineyard GSM in pure calcareous shale hills of Paso Robles. And here too we have grapes grown in calcareous shale plus granite and limestone - all conducive to producing high acid and full on expressions of fruit. Just starting to become approachable now, we would expect this wine to continue developing deeper fruit notes and great texture with a few more years in bottle.