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Over the almost twenty years that I've worked with Kermit Lynch, we've represented a wide range of producers from the Rhone valley of France, and we've become known in the trade as Rhone specialists. Wines from this area happen to be among my personal favorites. But the grape varietals used to produce red Rhone wines --- Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignane -- are not widely planted in our state. They're demanding to grow, the yields are small, and the wines are difficult to produce. Finding vineyards planted to these varieties in California is rare. Finding vineyards that can produce the high quality, properly farmed fruit necessary for the Rhone-styled wine we had in mind became for us the search for a viticultural holy grail. Until now, our search has been both frustrating and unproductive. After years of countless vineyard visits and grower interviews, however, we've finally assembled a collection of sources that provide us with enough of each of these four grapes to create our own Rhone-styled blend. We've named it after the road our winery is on -- Sage Canyon. This first ever Rhone varietal blend from Neyers Vineyards combines organically-farmed Grenache from the Sierra foothills; Mourvedre and Carignane from 130 year-old vines grown in northeast Contra Costa County, near Oakley; and Syrah from the Sonoma Coast. In the tradition of Rhone wines, each varietal seems to add a component that makes the whole much more than the sum of its parts. This is the wine we've wanted to produce for twenty years. It was worth waiting for.
A century and a half ago, we're told, Sage Canyon was historically important for the access road Wells Fargo built through it, enabling stagecoaches to transport gold from the assay offices in Sacramento to the ferry boat dock on the Napa River. It's likely that hundreds of fortunes, public and private, made that journey. Today, grapes and wine are transported over Sage Canyon Road. Perhaps the historians of the future will look at this era as having been no less valuable. Come visit us at Neyers Vineyards in Sage Canyon and take a brief journey into this historical area.