Wine of the Week: Two Shepherds Grenache Gris Rosé

This wine is SOLD OUT. Thanks for the interest!

There’s no question about it – two of the things I love most in life are rosé wine and weird grapes. Make a rosé wine out of a weird grape and chances are I will love it. This week’s Wine of the Week is a rosé from one of our favorite producers, Two Shepherds. Not only is it a fantastic wine, but it’s made from the noteworthy weird grape Grenache Gris – a grape that is genetically identical to Grenache Noir, but mutated so that the skins of the grapes are pinkish-gray.

This is a true old-vine wine, as the grapes are produced by 100 year old grapevines up in Mendocino County. It’s a very special and historic vineyard called Gibson Ranch, where these very old vines are dry-farmed (not irrigated) and head trained. The grapes were harvested in mid-September of 2013 and left to soak on the skins for 7 days prior to fermentation. This process allowed the wine to extract a ton of texture and complexity, which produced a rosé wine that is not just thirst-quenching and delicious, but also rich and nuanced.

There were only 33 cases of this delicious rosé produced, so she’s a rare bird indeed. Quantities are extremely limited, so get yours before it’s gone!

Two Shepherds 2013 Grenache Gris Rosé

Winemaker: William Allen

Bio: With a name like Two Shepherds, you’re probably surprised to find out that William Allen is a one-­man show. Allen is a longtime wine industry professional, and garagiste (home winemaker,) who decided to start a professional winery with an emphasis on Rhone varietals. His first release was only in 2010, but he’s called on many of the great low­intervention winemakers in California for advice, and it shows in his wine. He works out of a small winery in Santa Rosa, shared with two other wineries.

Allen only works with Rhone grapes, and even planted his own vineyard of Grenache recently. His wines are balanced, with both texture and acid, and really shine with food.

Region: California>Mendocino County

Vineyard: Gibson Ranch, a historical section of McDowell Valley Vineyard. 100+ year old, dry farmed, head-trained vines.

Blend: 100% Grenache Gris, a mutation of Grenache Noir – the skins are orangey-gray in color.

Aging: 5 months in stainless steel, 4 of which were sur-lie.

Production Notes: Harvested in mid-September at 21.5 Brix. Grapes were crushed and left on the skins to cold soak for 7 days, then pressed into neutral French oak and fermented with indigenous yeasts. After 2 weeks, the wine (which was not finished fermenting) was transferred to stainless steel tanks, where it spent the next 4 months fermenting at a temperature of 56F. The wine wanted to start malolactic fermentation, so it was allowed to do so and was then bottled unfined and unfiltered. 33 cases made.

Tasting Notes: Expressive aromas of citrus rind, tomato vine, and white peach. On the palate, it has balanced texture and weight, with a wonderful savory element from the extended skin contact, delivering tangy citrus, red grapefruit, and peach, with a lingering finish. Serve at a proper temperature of 52-56F, not directly from the refrigerator.

Food Pairings: Grilled or roasted vegetables, poached salmon with seared morels, arugula salad with bacon-shallot vinaigrette.