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Thorne & Daughters

2020

‘Menagerie’

Grenache Blanc - Grenache Gris   |   Stellenbosch - South Africa

About

Menagerie means “a strange or diverse collection of people or things.” John and Tasha Seccombe decided to create this new label as a space in which to experiment and work with new vineyards, varietals, and techniques. All of this is important in their quest for more refined and authentic expressions of the wonderful terroirs of the Western Cape in which they work. Menagerie is a blend of two vineyards; the first is the organically grown Grenache blanc vineyard in Stellenbosch on decomposed granite soils, and the second is the Grenache gris from richer clay soils on the lower slopes of the Voor Paardeberg mountain on the boarder of the Swartland. The 2020 vintage was very much a dry, yet relatively cool growing season, with average yields overall. They luckily avoided any heat waves which are pretty standard in South Africa in January and February, leaving them a lot of time to decide when to pick the grapes at optimal ripeness. The Seccombe’s style overall is to pick early, based mostly on taste with an eye on style of the wine that they’re aiming for. They never look for a big alcohol expression (nor a low one for that matter) and prefer subtle wines that show ripeness, while being restrained and elegant. Menagerie checks all the boxes.

Initially they had hoped to co-ferment these two parcels of wine, but the harvesting dates were about two weeks apart, so they opted to ferment the two wines separately. In both cases, they destemmed the grapes into large vats where they spent four days of cool maceration without alcoholic fermentation to better bring out the color, flavor and texture of these two shades of the Grenache grape. The juice was then pressed off in old Vaslin basket press and settled overnight to decant the heavier solids in the juice before being taken to old oak barrels for fermentation. No SO2, enzymes or inoculations were used, relying instead on fruit and cellar hygiene to ensure that our wines don’t require any chemical interventions at this stage. Before bottling, a small dosage of sulfur was added to ensure freshness.

Stats

  • Grapes: 50% Grenache Blanc - 50% Grenache Gris
  • Vineyard: De Morgenzon vineyard (Grenache Blanc) - Weltevrede (Grenache Gris)
  • Vine Age: 7-years-old (Grenache Gris) - 6-years-old (Grenache Blanc)
  • Soil Type: Decomposed granite and clay
  • Viticulture: Practicing organic
  • Fermentation: Native – old 228L French oak barrels
  • Skin Contact: 4 days cold maceration prior to ferment
  • Aging: 10 months in old French oak barrels
  • Alcohol: 13.4%
  • pH: 3.26
  • Total Acidity: 5.6 g/L
  • Total SO2: 45 ppm
  • Total Production: 196 cases
  • UPC: 737186496722

Tasting Notes

On the nose, dried apricot, pear and spiced apples join sourdough and almonds towards a full, mouth-coating palate. The wine is opulent and rich but supported by a fresh, citric acidity.

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