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Grenache is one of the world's most widely planted grapes and, at it's best, it is one of the great wines of the world. That said, there are actually very few examples worthy of bestowing such a designation upon them. It takes all of the right ingredients, soil, climate, & a soft touch in the winery. The soil, in particular, matters a ton.
Richard and Carla believe that the prettiest of all Grenache comes from old vines grown in sandy soils. In sand the colors are lighter and the wine develops all of the beautiful, floral, high-toned aromatics. They have come to regard it as the well-endowed, warm climate analogy of Pinot Noir. Unfortunately, that sandy soil happens to be few & far between. Believe us, they've checked. They've combed Spain, California, France & Sardinia. Apart from France (home the best of them all, Chateau Rayas) the most promising sandy soil they've found is in the Vine Vale portion of the Barossa, South Australia. What makes Vine Vale unique and totally different from the rest of the Barossa is the deep sandy soil & the gully breezes which keep things cool. This has made it a really fine home for own-rooted Grenache vines for more than a century.
For Sucette they've tapped one of the finest vineyards in Vine Vale. The vines are 90+ years old & completely wild. Nothing (literally nothing) is ever sprayed or applied in the vineyard and the vines grow totally unfettered apart from the single yearly pruning. It's beyond organic, it's feral.
Harvest is a fairly simple, pick the grapes & haul them across the country road to the winery where they ferment, partially whole-cluster, in fermenters that are open to the sun rays, moon beams, bees - all of it. A pass through the old basket press & then the wine hangs out in only old French oak barrels. In keeping with the belief that it's not what you wear, it's how you wear it, we believe the 'old' barrels give the wine time to find itself, preserve the purity of soil & grape, & set itself up for longevity.
Nichon is a blend of 80% Semillon (60 years old) and 20% Sauvignon Blanc (25 years old). Both come from a sandy, own-rooted vineyard in the cool, Eastern area of the Barossa Valley known as the Vine Vale.
The entire genesis of Richard and Carla's desire to make this wine is based on their love of what old Semillon can do after a few years in bottle: super nutty, honeyed, herbal notes on the nose paired with an insanely textural palate. (Think Haut Brion Blanc, Kalin Cellars, Chateau Musar and Fiorano.) The wine is basket pressed and barrel fermented, with blocked malo to retain that juicy acid. Nichon spends 12 months in second-use French oak, and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.