The An Approach to Relaxation Story
We are two Americans, living in Amsterdam, making wine in Australia... Makes a ton of sense, right? Whelp, when you travel approximately 250 days a year, you can pretty much make your home anywhere there's a great airport, and Amsterdam is a stellar town. So then, why do we make the huge trek down to South Australia? Because we own one of the oldest Grenache vineyards on the planet (The Rza Block), and are super passionate about sharing what we make with the world. But before we get into all that, a little bit about us... While Richard was catching lizards & crashing bikes in the desert, Carla was wrangling horses & waves in California. Who knew they’d someday collide in a flurry of light, rivaling Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as the finest accomplices to roam the land? Their paths took them separately through all sorts of twists & turns; Carla to NYU for acting & Richard nearly became an attorney (that would have been very bad.) Anyways, eventually they figured out that you can have a damn fine time (& make a living!) throwing a good party, thus, they found their way to wine. Carla served the stuff up at some tony joints in NYC for a while (The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, The John Dory Oyster Bar), while Richard found the dearth of oxygen & excess of disposable income in Aspen more suitable to his wine service. Then, on one hot, muddy & muggy afternoon they found themselves in the same park at the same time &, well, Carla was wearing this hot pink tank top & pouring excessive quantities of sherry, & that was it. Boom. They were on their way to the sun. After banging around the solar system for a while they realized they needed gas money or at least a break on the wine, so they asked themselves ‘how do we make our own supply from which to get high?’ Whelp, turns out they both love the same wines & Richard had a little experience making this & that, so they headed to OZ to make some dee-lish hooch. After all, Wine is a Grocery, Not a Luxury.
Why's this wine for you?

An Approach to Relaxation is Carla and Richard Rza Betts, a couple of nomadic American Somms, (Carla putting in time in some of the Big Apple’s funkiest eateries) and Richard hanging out in some fine diners in the mountains of Aspen.

They eventually shacked up together and (as I suppose everyone who doesn’t live here does) feeling the pull of the sunshine from the great down under, travelled to Oz, discovered a certain block of gnarly grenache planted on the sandier soils of Barossa’s Vine Vale and set about making some thumping good wine.

It’s part ancient Barossa history, part new-guard winemakers, and all delicious. Make no mistake. This is wine designed to be drunk.

Carla and Richard now own that special spot of ancient bush vines they discovered. Now know as the ‘Rza Block’, the vines were planted sometime in the late 1800’s and pulled down the trellises with their weight sometime between then and now. Everything is hand-picked and treated in a quite ‘traditionally’ Barossan way (basket press, old oak) with the sandier soils of the site giving the wines a marked elegance. Just try it. This is the Grenache we all want to be drinking.

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The Brief
How's it taste?
The Rza Block fruit gives a very clear backbone of darker fruit here; all red fruits (rather than black), but Winter red fruits like cranberry and pomegranate in addition to the Summer strawberries and cherries. The structure of the very old vines is also on display, holding together a fantastic nugget of ripe fruit on the palate. White pepper, mint, sweet meats and earth.
How was it made?
Grenache is one of the world's most widely planted grapes & at it's best, it is one of the great wines of the world. That said, there are actually very few examples worthy of bestowing such a designation upon them.

It takes all of the right ingredients, including such things as soil, climate, & a soft touch in the winery. The soil, in particular, matters a ton.
We believe that the prettiest of all Grenache comes from old vines grown in sandy soils.

In sand the colors are lighter...
(& who cares, you neither taste nor smell color) & the wine develops all of the beautiful, floral, high-toned aromatics that give allure & sex appeal.

We have come to regard it as the well-endowed, warm climate analogy of Pinot Noir.
We make the trek from Amsterdam to South Australia in order to work with some of the oldest Grenache vines on the planet, growing in sandy soils.

Our own vineyard, The Rza Block (estimated to have been planted between 1860-1880), is situated in the heart of the Vine Vale in the Barossa Valley in deep, white beach-like sand. The vines are head-trained, own-rooted and dry-grown.
Harvest is a fairly simple affair, pick the grapes & haul them across the country road to the winery...

where we ferment, partially whole-cluster, in outdoor open-top fermenters.
A pass through the traditional Barossan basket press & then the wine hangs out for a year or so in only old French oak barrels.
 

In keeping with the belief that it's not what you wear, it's how you wear it, we believe the 'old' barrels give the wine time to find itself, preserve the purity of soil & grape, & set itself up for longevity.
The result is an elegant, sumptuous, sexy, delicious bottle that finds its way onto our table rather frequently.
The Who
Critic Reviews
Expert Review
Expert Review
96 Points
Joshua Green - Wine and Spirits Magazine
You’ll get a blast of peppery grenache, the bright sunlight stored in the fruit immediately released. It might be worth the price of admission if the wine went south then and there, but that sunny energy and the sand-driven tannins only gain dynamism with air; the delicate strawberry, the darker black raspberry depths, the lavender fragrance and unreal length of flavour make the wine compellingly drinkable for days. A Barossa classic reimagined.
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