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Old Vines Grenache Besson Vineyard Birichino California 2021

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  • Size: 750ml
  • Vintage: 2021
  • ABV: 13.5%
  • Origin: California / USA
  • Grapes: Grenache


Birichino is a relatively recent success story. Alex Krause and John Locke founded the winery in Santa Cruz in 2008. Drawing on a combined four decades of making wine in California, France, Italy, and beyond, they are focused on attaining the perfect balance of perfume, poise, and puckishness.

Grapes are sourced from a number of carefully farmed, family-owned, own-rooted 19th and early 20th-century vineyards (and a few from the late disco era) planted by and large in more moderate, marine-influenced climates. Birichino's preoccupation is to safeguard the quality and vibrance of their raw materials. Their preference is for minimal intervention, most often favouring native fermentations, employing stainless or neutral barrels, minimal racking and fining, and avoiding filtration altogether when possible. But most critically, their aim is to make delicious wines that give pleasure, revitalize, and revive. 

John & Alex are grateful to have known and worked with George Besson Jr. and his exceptional vineyards for twenty years. George's late father, George Sr. purchased the Grenache vineyard and farmhouse just after WWII on a gently north-facing rocky slope. These non-irrigated vines, planted on their own roots in 1910, sit a short distance from the start of the Santa Cruz Mountains, but several dozen feet too low to qualify for the appellation. Walking through the vines with George, one senses his deep affection and respect for the land and the vines, and his belief in man's subordinate role to nature in determining the ultimate quality of the grapes grown there. As a consequence of the age of the vines, the lack of irrigation, and the conservative farming practices, the quantity of grapes grown there is quite small - rarely if ever over 2 tons/acre. 

'This is of pale ruby colour. The nose is elegant and delicate with red cherry, nougat, and kernel along with layers of fine herbs such as oregano and anise. Medium bodied on the palate this has an almost crunchy acidity which suits the wine perfectly. This wine is built on finely structured tannins, and is fragrant & layered.'Anja Breit, Philglas & Swiggot