Hudson “Pick Up Sticks” Napa Valley Grenache 2018

First planted in 1981, Hudson Ranch rambles across 2,000 acres of the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. It is one of the first estates you will see when driving into Napa Valley from San Francisco. Of the 2,000 acres a mere 200 are under vines representing twenty different varieties. Another three acres make up the heirloom vegetable garden which is sold to local restaurants and in the Oxbow Market in downtown Napa.

The peaceful setting of Hudson Ranch embodies the energy, intensity, and passion of proprietor Lee Hudson. He’s originally from Houston, Texas and if you ever meet him he is more than likely wearing his cowboy hat and boots.

Lee received his B.S. in Horticulture at the University of Arizona and then went on to work with the esteemed Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.  He learned that great grapes from hallowed vineyard sites produce truly world class, fine wines. After returning to the States he graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Viticulture and Enology graduating amongst some of Napa’s finest, like his buddy John Kongsgaard. Lee began to search for the perfect piece of property from Santa Barbara to Mendocino before deciding on the Carneros property in the Napa Valley.  

The 2018 Grenache bursts out of the glass with aromas of ripe cherries, spice, and leather. The first smell of dark strawberry compote, licorice, cinnamon, and lavender is sweet and sexy. It captures fresh plum and strawberries layered with forest floor. While its palate is rich and juicy, with both fruity and savory and spicy firm tannins the wine finishes with elegant fine-grained tannins in a medium-bodied long finish.  90% Grenache, 10% Syrah. Only 211 cases produced. 

Grenache is a beautiful wine to enjoy with cheese thanks to its juicy fruit character and refined tannins. It pairs particularly well with softer, washed-rind varieties. Less crumbly feta also goes well with this wine, as does most creamy cheese. Fresh goat’s milk cheese will work together with the red fruits present in the wine. A nice goat cheese tartlet will give you the creaminess the Grenache is craving as well as highlight the red fruit in Hudson “Pick Up Sticks”. 

Jennie Kaplan Woodson – December 2020

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