Syrah •Arroyo Seco
California: Monterey County
What we say
note to new customers: All wines that we feature on this site are tasted and reviewed by us. With thousands of wines available to us and with only 365 days in a year, us spies are very choosy about the wines we invite you to try. Only our favorite wines make it onto this site. Please enjoy!]
The goal of a recent covert operation to Monterey was to uncover the best wines of the region. After careful surveillance, we sent an operative to visit Ventana Vineyards. Mission accomplished! Ventana is the “Most Award Winning Single Vineyard in America” for good reason: Superb wines!
Ventana was founded by Doug Meador, a true rebel in the wine industry. Doug, a former fighter pilot from a Washington state Apple growing family, was seduced by friends into planting 2400 acres of wine grapes. The seduction complete, Doug turned a challenging curiosity into a passion for making exceptional Monterey wines.
This 2004 Syrah is exceptional for a ‘value priced’ wine. With medium red, almost light plum color and scents of blueberry and ripe blackberry, it has a flavor and finish that has character and complexity – without attacking your senses.
An easy drinking wine, this Arroyo Seco wine is easy to drink on its own or with a hearty meal. Its juicy and sweet, but does not have the fruit punch quality that some California Syrahs exhibit.
After giving the wine some time to breathe, we began to pick up hints of zest, mellow spice, black cherry and cedar.
Wine Spy Technical Analysis
Total Acidity: 0.65
Residual Sugar: Dry
Appellation: Arroyo Seco (Monterey County)
Barrels: Minnesota tight grained Oak
Vineyard: Estate, Ventana Vineyard
Soil Type: Calcareous composition of alluvial deposit with rock and gravel
What the winery says
Ventana Vineyards is the “Most Award Winning Single Vineyard in America”. For over thirty years, Ventana has essentially been a research vineyard – the result of Doug Meador’s single-minded dedication to earn Monterey County a respected place on the California wine map. This accomplishment is due in part to his research and dedication to solving the challenges and reaping the rewards of cold climate viticulture.
2004 SYRAH – GOLD MEDAL WINNER : International Eastern Wine Competition 5/07
Syrah, when grown in a cool growing region such as Arroyo Seco, shows unique black-pepper qualities that can be lost in warmer regions. Our winemaking procedures enhance this varietal’s quality. We hand-select only the ripest clusters, de-stem and place them into open-top fermentors that allow some of the alcohol from the higher sugar grapes to vent off. The cap is hand-punched several times each day during initial fermentation. We wish to keep the alcohol no more than 13.5% to ensure the dark fruit and black pepper nose are the most prevalent components in the bouquet. Once open-top fermentation ceases, we transfer the wine to American Minnesotan tight grained oak for barrel ageing.
The Ventana Syrah shows a bright ruby-purple color. The bouquet is lively with fresh cracked black pepper and black cherry. On the palate, the wine is lush and full with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, and spice. The wine is well balanced having vanilla and cedar tones from American Oak barrel aging as an accompaniment to the fruit components.