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by Fred McMillin
My Gosh, It's Grenache
...Wine Historian Charles Sullivan's Wine Companion
"It would be interesting to see whether restricting yields in a medium-hot area like Mendocino could produce [Grenache] wines with the character of some of the best Chateauneufs [acclaimed Rhone wine]."
...Jancis Robinson's Vines, Grapes, and Wines
Would You Believe?
Grenache is the most widely planted grape in the world that most of us recognize. (Number one is the white wine grape Airen.) Grenache is hardly unknown in California, where just 11 years ago Grenache production exceeded that of the noble Cabernet Sauvignon. If it's so widely grown, why doesn't it have greater stature?
The Two Faces of Grenache
The short answer is overcropping. The variety will produce too many grapes if left unchecked (makes a thin red). However, if it has to struggle, wine intensity increases dramatically. That's why Jancis Robinson wonders if restricting yields in a fairly warm climate (similar to the Rhone's) might make a fine red wine.
Restricting Yields in Mendocino
Marilynn and Carl Thoma decided to answer Jancis' question. "Our Grenache is grown in Mendocino County 300 feet above the Ukiah Valley floor. There is no irrigation, which produces low yields of intensely-flavored grapes." Their 1997 is our...
Wine of the Day
1997 SketchBook Mendocino Collection Genache
The careers of Carl and Marilynn Thoma are nearly as interesting as their wines. Both graduated from Oklahoma State followed by Stanford M.B.A.s. Marilynn went into marketing for Quaker Oats. Carl founded a venture-capital firm, Thoma Cressey Equity Partners. Both owners are very creative. If there was ever a winery to watch, this is it.
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This page created June 2000