Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Two Shepherds 2017 Cinsault Ancient Vine

It is possible you have not heard of the grape Cinsault. A dark-skinned grape, it is typically blended with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre in a Southern Rhone blend. It is rather uncommon to find Cinsault produced as a single-varietal wine but one winery is producing it. Two Shepherds, based in Sonoma, California, produces a single bottling of Cinsault and it is so delicious, the Two Shepherds 2017 Cinsault Ancient Vine is the Please The Palate Wine of the Week.

Wine blogger turned winemaker William Allen is the owner and winemaker of Two Shepherds, along with his partner Karen Daenen. Allen started making wine in his garage and began commercial production in 2010, producing 175 cases. Today he makes approximately 1500 cases per year, but each wine under the Two Shepherds label is a small lot of 25-200 cases each.

Two Shepherds specializes (primarily) in Rhone varieties. Allen seeks out cool climate vineyards, old vine vineyards and unique plantings. He approaches wine with minimal intervention, using native yeast, minimal SO2, whole clusters and neutral barrel fermentation and aging to produce unfiltered and unfined wines.

The Two Shepherds 2017 Cinsault Ancient Vine comes from the 135-year old Bechthold Vineyard in Lodi, which is believed to be the oldest surviving Cinsault Vineyard in the world. The vineyard is dry-farmed and organic and produces low yields. Allen handpicks the grapes which are whole cluster and foot tread. They are fermented with native yeasts and gently pressed to neutral barrels for 8 months of aging on the lees.

The Two Shepherds 2017 Cinsault Ancient Vine is a beautifully fresh and aromatic wine with notes of raspberries, cherries, violets, roses and pepper. It is elegant, fresh, crisp and light. And, add a little chill to it and it is all the better.

Only 125 cases are made of this wine. It can be found in local wine retailers or it can currently be found on the Two Shepherds website, where you will find it for $32. Order it today as it will soon only be available to Flock Club, their wine club, to members only. Of course, you can join the Two Shepherd Flock Club and you will not be disappointed!

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