Shypoke Keep 2016 | An electric wine full of life
Shypoke Keep 2016 pours a bright ruby with hints of violet. A collection of densely packed bouncy, crunchy fruit reminiscent of a mid-July California mixed berry cobbler. While this is dangerously gulp-able, the Charbono grounds the rambunctious Grenache with spice and structure. Plus layers of crushed violets and graphite dominate the aromas. Then complemented by fresh blackberries and a hint of grapefruit peel. As a result, medium-bodied, supple tannins, and viscous. Most of all, an electric wine full of life. Ending with a lengthy and mouthwatering finish.
“This is a personal favorite of mine,” is how Amanda McCrossin, the wine director at PRESS Restaurant in St. Helena prefaced a round of pours of the 2016 Shypoke Keep, a unique red blend and preferred house wine of a 100-point winemaker (the one you may have never heard of). “Pete Heitz makes about 11 barrels,” she continued, “only enough for us to pour it by the glass, some to sell to his mailing list, and the rest seems to find its way to the French Laundry.”.
A different Heitz -something about the name?
Winemaker Peter Heitz is not from the same Heitz family that owns Martha’s Vineyard. This Peter Heitz is a fourth-generation winemaker from Calistoga who spent nine vintages crafting Beringer’s Private Reserve, and since 2007 has served as winemaker at Turnbull Wine Cellars where he’s turned out numerous 95+ wines, including two perfect Parker 100-pointers.
“Pete’s the nicest, most humble, most modest, warm human being you’ll ever meet,” McCrossin told us. And just what does this perfectionist, nice-guy winemaker drink at home?
Heitz, Turbull & Shypoke
Heitz crafts each vintage of Shypoke at the cellars at Turnbull. With Keep, the focus is on Grenache, which although makes up just 30 percent of the blend, is front and center. “An embarrassment of stunning Grenache,” as Heitz puts it. One barrel comes from one-third of an acre in Calistoga, while the rest comes from 70-year-old plantings at Poor Ranch in Mendocino. Heitz then infuses the Grenache with Charbono grapes for “baritone tannins,” Malbec for juiciness, and old-vine Petite Sirah for blue-fruit fireworks.