Winemaker Kyle Knapp fell in love with Stolpman Grenache back when he was our assistant winemaker 2006-2009. In fact, Kyle spearheaded our very first varietal Grenache bottling in 2006. The 2016 Grenache marks Kyle’s triumphant return to Stolpman as head winemaker and his passion shines through this bottling.
The healthy vintage of 2016 gave us plush, luxurious wines across the board. The wines are enjoyable right out of the gate. Particularly for Grenache, which has a tendency to become very tannic on Ballard Canyon Limestone, 2016 lent cushy fruit textures to wash over any astringency on the back-end. Two late season heat waves accelerated the season for the slow-ripening varietal and we harvested a bit earlier than normal, starting harvest in late September.
AT THE WINERY
Careful sorting on the line to include only browning stems whole-cluster (no green stems) marked a slight decrease in stem inclusion – playing into the smooth textures of the 2016 Grenache. Pump-overs ensured gentle extraction to keep the delicate red fruit flavors floating over the harder skin and stem textures. As has been the case since 2012, only free-run juice is included in the final bottling to further ensure the Grenache is kept delicate, nuanced, and pure.
The 2016 Grenache screams with red fruit unchecked through the mouth from front to back. Tinged with tart strawberry, graphite, blood, and rare steak – the 2016 isn’t only about upfront largess – although the bountiful fruit seems to expand even more towards the finish. Those underlying savory flavors don’t detract from the 2016 Grenache’s pure prettiness, rather, I want to sink my teeth into it and get to know it better. At the end of the day, this is a classic Stolpman Grenache harkening back to the 2006 and 2008 vintages – chocolate, cream, and berry liqueur.