George Unti heeded the advice of his son Mick in the late 1980's and bought a beautiful 65 acre parcel in the Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg. Father and son had a similar dream. Both had worked for large businesses--George as an executive for Safeway, Mick as a national sales manager for Kendall-Jackson--and both wanted to do something small, something truly excellent. After a few years of grape growing, grape selling and a little bit of bootstrap vinification, Mick was finally able to move full-time to the winery and Unti Vineyards started to become something more than George's retirement hobby.
Unlike most California wine salesmen, Mick's true love is great European wine. Both father and son traveled to Italy, visited the great estates of Tuscany like Paolo De Marchi's Isole e Olena. They listened. They took notes and they applied their new knowledge in Dry Creek. Mick traveled to the southern Rhone Valley, a viticultural region he believes to be most like his Dry Creek microclimate. He was always particularly enthralled by the wines of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and decided to pay special attention to the Grenache on the estate vineyard.
The grapes are well worth the extra attention! For four years running, Unti Grenache has been one of the two or three best examples of the varietal in the state. As is done in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Mick blended Syrah (16%) and Mourvedre (7%) for color, body, and complexity. This wine will have you thinking of the Vaucluse in the southern Rhone. It has intense aromatics of raspberry, tar, pepper, and dried herbs, with a silky texture on the palate. It is slightly riper and lower in acid than the previous vintage. Only 660 cases were produced! Drink now-2007.