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Grenache Hillside 2020

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Grenache Hillside 2020
Grenache Hillside 2020
Tasting notes

Grenache is quite possibly the fruitiest red wine out there. Originating in the Rhone region of France, the variety is grown in many countries, often as fresh and light varietal for quaffing.  For Madrona, we had never intended to bottle a Grenache. We had grafted in the variety to blend with our Syrah to intensify its fruitiness. Unfortunately, the fresh strawberry characters overflowing in the wine merely muddled the cherished gaminess and complexity of our Syrah. Thus, our Grenache was born and subsequently our Grenache Rosé.

With the early pick of Grenache for the Rosé (taking one cluster per cane), it has done a nice job with extending out the harvest of the Grenache Noir we make. The aromas are upfront with luscious strawberry, briary berry, and ripe black cherry. Settle in a bit more, and there is a beautiful spice companionship of sweet and savory spices going on.

The entry completely fills the mouth with a richly textured palate. The cherry characters tend to dominate now with strawberry fruit tucked in just behind. But what truly is striking about this wine is the balance between this rich, full-bodied, riper style of Grenache and rustic and authentic mountain-grown expression. The mid-palate is totally fruit-driven and then the youthful tannins firm up the finish with strength and confidence (if tannins are confident!). Approachable in nature for sipping on the deck, but serious enough for the table. This is Grenache!

Varietal Composition100% Grenache
AppellationEl Dorado
VineyardEstate Vineyards
Fermentationfermented in stainless tanks with some whole cluster addition
Volume750 ml
Bottling Date12/08/2021
Cases Produced77

We grafted the Chateau Rayas clone of Grenache into our Pleasant Valley vineyards in 2005. A joint venture between Paul, Maggie, David and Sheila Bush (Sumu Kaw Vineyards), we strive to produce the premier Grenache in California. The rootstocks are all devigorating, an important aspect to controlling the growth in this variety. Even so, we drop 50% of the crop (making our Grenache Rosé) to ensure balance in the vine and uniform ripeness. And with a slight north-facing slope at the 2,900 foot elevation, the growing season is long and drawn-out, perfect for the wine's great structure and complexity.

Paul Bush, Owner/Winemaker

Madroña Vineyards

Camino, California. 


We are a family-owned and operated winery focusing on terroir-driven, Estate-Grown fruit.

Annual Case Production:  12,000 cases

Planted Acres:  70 acres planted at the 2,850 to 3,000 foot elevation.

Career Background:  Having helped plant the family vineyards as a kid in 1973, I grew up working in our winery what seemed like every day after school. I had no intention of “winding up” in the wine industry and graduated from U.C. Davis in 1989 with a degree in Economics. However, with an interest in traveling abroad, our winery offered a flexible schedule and an opportunity to work with inspiring winemakers such as Mark Foster and Hugh Chappelle. I began managing the vineyards and business in 1991 and making the wines in late 2002.

Biggest Professional Challenge: Balance! Working with my wife, Maggie, we find our greatest challenge is how to be business owners with all of its responsibilities while making the wines, growing the grapes, marketing the brand and raising two daughters. Any given day can be filled with dusting the vineyards at daybreak, acid trials before lunch, working in the tasting room in the afternoon—and then throw in a swim meet or school play for spice.  Undoubtedly, every small, family winery tackles the same aspect of wearing so many hats, but the challenge and excitement is unique to each one.

Varietals that Madroña is Known for:  In total, we grow 27 varieties in our El Dorado vineyards. From within these plantings, however, I believe that Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Riesling and the seven Portuguese varieties (for our New-World Port) are consistently outstanding.

Short Testimonial: I truly can’t imagine doing anything else but growing grapes and enjoying  wine. I believe the terroir of our region is unique with overall cool-climate aspects, peppered with warm summer days and a slightly shorter growing season. So finding the true expression of each variety for our vineyards ends up being an exciting and challenging adventure every vintage. The wines have more backbone and structure than most regions of California while showcasing the intense varietal character of mountain fruit. Most often, I find that the wine knows best in how it should be “made,” and I’m just along for the ride. As we once heard in France, “One does not make wine. One elaborates wine!” And with our Estate-grown grapes, I am quite content to be the “elaborator.”

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