Angela Osborne loves Grenache. Unfortunately her native New Zealand lacks the climate to get the grape sufficiently ripe, so after considering Northern Spain, Southern France and a few other wine regions, she settled on the idea of making wine in Santa Barbara, California. Since her arrival in 2006, it is no exaggeration to say that Angela has established herself as one of the leading specialists of her favourite varietal. She has sought out the oldest Grenache vineyards in the state and used them to craft wines of elegance, complexity and generosity.
After spending time working at various wineries to learn the ropes, Angela launched A Tribute to Grace (named for her grandmother). Her approach to winemaking is decidedly low-intervention, using very low levels of SO2 and refusing to use any additives or technological trickery. The wines sparkle with purity of fruit and sense of life that is difficult to find in Grenache from anywhere, let alone California, and this has led to enthusiastic plaudits from wine writers like Eric Asimov and Jon Bonné (who featured her heavily in his book ‘The New California Wine’).
The range opens with the Santa Barbara County Grenache, which is a fully destemmed blend of fruit from two organic vineyards (the Santa Barbara Highlands vineyard and Vie Caprice in the Santa Ynez Valley). Bright and fresh, with vibrant red berry fruit and a hint of spice, it is a delicious introduction to Angela’s style. From there the vineyard sources get progressively older and the wines build in concentration and complexity (without ever losing their vitality and sense of place). The pick of the fruit from Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard goes into a vineyard designate wine, followed by Besson (from Santa Cruz, the oldest vineyard in the USA) and just 107 cases from Shake Ridge Ranch (in the Sierra Foothills). All of the wines undergo native yeast fermentation in tank before being moved to barrel for malolactic and 16-18 months of elevage in largely neutral oak barrels.
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