An Approach to Relaxation
Barossa, South Australia.
Previously based in the United States, Richard Betts is a New York Times bestselling author, and was a Master Sommelier (after a self-prescribed exit in 2020) . Carla Rzeszewski is a fellow sommelier whose career has seen her working in some of New York’s best wine bars. They share an obsession with the region-defining Château Rayas wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and in 2014 this finally inspired them to find an old-vine site that could deliver them comparable personality and concentration.
When the decision was made to pursue their Grenache-making dreams, there was no specific region in mind. The pair searched the world for the holy trinity of old vines, sandy soils and extraordinary Grenache. They found their prize in Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley. In this cool, eastern subsection of the famed South Australian region, the couple purchased a unicorn (otherwise known as the Rza Block)—a sandy, circa 150-year-old vineyard, planted on its own roots. It’s not just the age and the weathered granite/quartzite sands that attracted Richard and Carla to the site. The ‘Vine Vale Nurse’ (evening summer winds) gives them the diurnal shift needed to preserve acidity and freshness their Grenache, and the ability to emulate their obsession.
Farming at this site is 100% organic. The flagship wine is of course, Grenache, the elegant and seductive ‘Sucette’, which sees a portion of whole bunches. The white wine at this address, the racy, pulpy ‘Nichon’ Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, also hails from Vine Vale but from two different sites. The former from 60-year-old vines and the latter from 25-year-old vines. Both cheekily named wines encapsulate their producers’ desires of being endearing, classically styled wines that are definitely destined for the dining table…. preferably in a restaurant!
90% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc
Sandy soil. 65 year old vines, own rooted.
Basket pressed over 12 hours and barrel fermentation in second- and third-use French oak. Oak maturation for one year before bottling (unfined and unfiltered).
Sandy, approx 150-year-old vines, own rooted
Rza Block Vine Vale
Organic (not certified), dry grown
One-third whole-bunch fermentation with a 12-hour basket press to old barriques. 12 months maturation in old French oak before bottling (unfined and unfiltered).
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