2016 Les Tours (E. Reynaud) Grenache Blanc

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Producer Chateau Des Tours
Region Rhone: While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds

As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
Subregion Vaucluse
Country France: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Type of Wine Rhone White
Varietal Grenache Blanc: The world of wine is vast and complex, wondrous, fascinating and somewhat baffling. The how and why certain varietals either prosper or fail in winegrowing regions around the world is interesting; varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon thrive in extremely gravely soils, while Merlot finds success in rich clay. The Grenache grape variety is no exception. It excels in some of the most “inhospitable” soils and climates. It seems adaptable to harsher climates and terroir and when at its best can produce one of the most concentrated and alcohol laden wines. Another mystical feat is that Grenache Blanc shares the same DNA profile, has similar characteristics, but produces an entirely different type of wine.

Grenache Blanc is actually a light skinned mutation of Grenache Noir (or simply Grenache). The variety is believed to have originated in the northeastern Spanish province of Aragon, where it is known as Garnacha Blanca. However, the variety is better known for its contributions to the appellation of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, where it has blossomed into a star component in the making of the region’s famous white wines; to which it adds texture and a luscious mouthfeel along with floral aromas. The variety also plays an important role in the winemaking appellations of Cotes-Du-Rhone and Languedoc-Roussillon, where the varietal is quite popular and accounts for 50% of all Grenache Blanc vines planted in France, which is an impressive 90,000 hectares.

The variety produces small green berries, which turn a beautiful, deep-golden color when ripe. The berries grow in medium-sized compact bunches, which grow on sturdy vines that can tolerate heat, drought and rocky, barren soil. The root system is vigorous in these types of soil, desperately exploring the rocky terrain for water and in return developing extremely concentrated and flavorful grapes.

The variety thrives in the hot, dry and often windy conditions that are found in the Southern Rhone Valley. Its drought resistant quality contributes to its success in Roussillon, where it can get quite hot during summer months with little rainfall. The terroir is generally composed of sand, limestone and clay, but when examined further; the soil and subsoil can vary greatly depending on location within the appellations. The western part of Chateauneuf-du-Pape has sand and clay soil, covered with large stones on the plateaus. Mixed sand, red and grey clay and limestone inhabit the northern part of the appellation, while less stony soil alternating with marl in the east and shallow sand and clay soil on a well-drained layer of gravel in the south. The large pebbles contribute to the quality of the vines and grapes by storing heat during the day and holding water. Given the reflective nature of the varietal, the resulting wine can vary and ultimately express each individual growing district.

The varietal’s birthplace and most of Spain’s winegrowing regions have, of course, enjoyed great success with Grenache Blanc (Garnacha Blanca), where the varietal thrives in its natural elements of the hot and windy Mediterranean valleys. It ripens late with a long hang-time, so it needs hot, dry conditions. The long and deep roots are well suited to water stress, allowing for super concentrated flavors and aromas, especially with old vines. Spain has some of the finest Garnacha offerings as well as some of the least expensive in the world.

At its best Grenache Blanc produces a delicious full-bodied wine that’s typically vinified dry. In the glass, it’s straw-colored amid hints of green and aromas of toasted nuts, cumin, nutmeg, dill, and anise. Fresh underbrush raises to white flowers, yellow peach, lychee, tangerine, and subtle minerality. Its aromatics carry through to its taste, with medium to high alcohol, and can have a creamy texture when aged on its lees.

The variety has traveled well and is now taking part in the California Rhone Ranger (despite having originated in Spain) movement where it is being implemented in both blended and varietal examples, most notably in San Luis Obispo and the Central Coast. While still a generous contributor to blend wines wherever planted, when vinified alone, it’s usually made dry, varying widely from lightly flavored, mineral-infused expressions to lush and dense. It has become an interesting and unique alternative to nation’s beloved Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

The incredible adaptability to areas of such inhospitable, dry and infertile soils is a mystical quality of Grenache Blanc. Its reflective qualities allow the grapes to expresses the terroir through the wine itself. From Chateauneuf-Du-Pape (whites) where it is one of the thirteen permitted grape varietals, to Priorat where the varietal examples are rich and concentrated to the coast of California, where Grenache Blanc is becoming a popular expression of Spanish and Rhone influence, cultivated in California dirt.

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