2016 Tessier Grenache Fenaughty Vineyard
Region: El Dorado County < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Uncertified organic farming; high altitude vineyard; clay loam soils with volcanic debris and traces of granite; 60% whole cluster, lady foot stomped, then fermented and aged in neutral French oak ; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 13.2% ABV; 122 cases made
Winemaker: Kristie Tacey
The Tessier homepage, with a provocative image the 1965 film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and the Velvet Underground line, “Here she comes, you better watch your step,” tells you a lot about Kristie. She is fierce, and not afraid to flex her power or her feminity. She’s also incredibly smart. I mean, really smart, as in a former microbiologist who worked on the Human Genome Project. In 2006, she left the field of science for wine, but never lost the discipline, bringing that scientific precision and geekiness to her winemaking. She started her own project in 2009, working with a handful of family-farmed vineyards in NorCal. At first, she played it safe with more conventional California-style wines, but as she’s learned grown more confident, she has moved over to the natty side. But first she is a scientist, so although the wines are made in a very low-intervention way, they are clean and precise. Like this Grenache, which somehow completely epitomizes the Sierra Foothills terroir. You taste volcanic rocks in every sip, along with lifted, somewhat tart, red fruit, black cherry and wildflowers. It’s like cranberry nectar with a shot of elderflower liquor and a black rock rim. Keep an eye on Kristie, she’s definitely a badass winemaker to watch.