2021 Sheldon Wines, Grenache ”Pure Grenache – Pitch & Frequency” Sonoma County, California.
The 2021 Pure Grenache from Sheldon Wines is exceptional stuff with a gorgeous ruby and garnet hue in the glass with, as the name suggests, a stunning purity of profile with a fresh array of red fruits, including crushed raspberry, pomegranate, black cherry, strawberry and currant fruits along with cinnamon, liquid flowers, snappy herbs, white pepper and a hint of sandalwood in a wine with a heavenly, satiny Pinot Noir like, vinous medium bodied palate. The grapes from this wine, picked from two Sonoma County sites that are set in areas that get a lot of sunshine, but see cold night time temperatures which allow for ripe fruit density, smooth silky tannins and with lower Brix, with this vintage coming home with only 12.3% natural alcohol, making for a lovely quaffable Grenache, great for lighter cuisine, though (it) is complex and compelling from start to finish. The combination of sites, with varied soils from marine sedimentary to Sonoma volcanics adding fruit and mineral depth here, with Sheldon using a natural and minimalist or gentle winemaking methods to promote absolute transparency and varietal character. Usually made with a cool maceration and partial whole bunches, Sheldon’s divine, textural and translucent Grenache offerings get a soft handling and a slow pressing to neutral French oak where it ages just under a year.
Sheldon’s 2021 100% Grenache is a blend of two daily cooler sites with 63% coming from Luc’s hillside vineyard in the Fountaingrove AVA near Healdsburg and Chalk Hill, and with 37% sourced from the Ceja Farms Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley AVA, but closer to the Southwest or Carneros side, all of which helps make for an extremely low alcohol and elegantly fresh version of this grape, more like what you see from Spain Sierra de Gredos region. In recent years wines from that area, high up in the cool mountains above Madrid have been blowing minds around the world, like those of Dani Landi, Comando G and 4 Monos, and Dylan Sheldon, Grenache fanatic, has matched that kind of stylist beauty with his versions, which rarely exceed 13% natural alcohol and drink wonderfully uninfluenced by oak or numbing heat. These days we are seeing Grenache as a solo varietal in California more and more, but when Dylan started his program in 2003 he was one of only a handful of producers to so with such enthusiasm for a lighter and fresher style, while at the moment we are seeing some more versions like his, those from Angela Osborne of Tribute to Grace, Sandlands, Ian Brand and a few others are proof that it is not a passing fad, but a serious movement. The Luc’s Vineyard, which is planted mainly to Rioja varietals, has been a main source to Sheldon for many years now and provides Tempranillo, Grenache (Garnacha), Syrah and Graciano, which is a Sheldon specialty, for Dylan’s unique collection of wines that I highly recommend.
($40 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive