09 Aug Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Folded Hills 2020 Whole Cluster Estate Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley
Carbonic maceration, in which whole grapes are fermented in a rich carbon dioxide, and oxygen-free, environment before crushing, is a winemaking technique often associated with the French wine region of Beaujolais. But more and more, winemakers in California are doing partial or complete carbonic fermentation with some of their red wines. The result is an irresistibly juicy fruit-forward wine with bright acidity and low tannins that are meant to taste fresh and be drunk young. I recently opened the Folded Hills 2020 Whole Cluster Estate Grenache, a whole cluster carbonic fermented Grenache, and it was just that. Fresh, bright, juicy, tasty, the Folded Hills 2020 Whole Cluster Estate Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley is the Please The Palate wine of the week.
About Folded Hills
Folded Hills is a 600-acre ranch located in the southernmost spot of the Santa Ynez Valley. The ranch is located just off the 101 freeway, five miles north of the Gaviota tunnel, which is where the 101 freeway shifts inland from the coast. Only four miles from the ocean, it is the closest vineyard to the ocean in the Santa Ynez Valley. However, despite its proximity to the ocean, it is a warmer area compared to the Sta. Rita Hills just north. With cold mornings and nights, as well as fog and wind, Rhone varieties are what thrive here and there are 14.7 acres planted to Syrah, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Clairette Blanche.
Winemaker Michael Brughelli works with grower Ruben Solorzano to produce wines that respect the land. The vineyard is certified organic and many of the biodynamic principles are practiced. The goal is to let the grapes speak for themselves with as little interference as possible resulting in wines with a focus on purity. The 2020 Whole Cluster Estate Grenache is just that.
The Folded Hills 2020 Whole Cluster Estate Grenache is a 100% estate Grenache that is 100% whole cluster carbonic fermentation. The wine then spends 11 months in neutral French barrique. The result is a bright wine with aromas of dark cherries, strawberries, rhubarb, and raspberry, as well as savory and spice notes. On the palate, the rhubarb notes carry through, as well as dusty minerality and cranberry notes and there is an earthy savoriness. The wine has body but is also fresh and zesty. Add a little chill, and this wine is so much fun!
I brought this wine to dinner at my friend’s house. My friend is of Serbian/Croatian heritage and served Ćevapi, a grilled dish of minced meat found traditionally in the countries of southeast Europe (the Balkans). Considered a national dish of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and is also common in Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, and Austria, Ćevapi are usually served in groups of five to ten pieces on a plate or in a flatbread, along with kajmak cheese and ajvar (pepper spread). When the Ćevapi were paired with the Folded Hills Whole Cluster Grenache, the savory, earthy notes faded and all of the fruit notes of the wine shone.
Where To Purchase
The Folded Hills 2020 Whole Cluster Grenache retails for $39 and is available on the Folded Hills website.
Meet the Winery Owner
Meet Co-Owner Kim Busch and listen to her story on the Wine Soundtrack USA Podcast.
Read the story about Folded Hills that wrote in the Napa Valley Register.