Syrah has to be one of life’s greatest joys. Legend has it the original material came from Iran to what is now Marseilles around 600 BC before being propagated in the Rhône Valley. But few places on planet Earth are as ideally suited for Syrah as El Dorado County. Our steep, mountainous slopes and granitic soils; our dry, warm climate and temperate, breezy evening. Syrah absolutely thrives here, making for versatile material for us to explore the spectrum of its personalities, and allowing us to make something complex and downright otherworldly.
We maintain a delicate balance of ripeness and structure; picking at absolutely perfect ripeness is key. We employ significant amounts of whole cluster, as the stems bring forth dizzying aromatics, layers of spice and sappy, sweet tannins. We handle our native fermentations with the remontage technique (versus the more commonly used pigeage, or punch down); gentler on the berries, but aggressively more aerobic for the juice, encouraging high CO2 production which both protects and bolsters our aromatic profile. Gently pressed, settled, and sent to barrel for 18 months. Racked and returned in the spring, and bottled just before harvest.
The 2016 El Dorado Syrah is a perfect example of sun-drenched ripeness and mountain-grown austerity. The nose boasts layers of complexity with high tones of tobacco and cedar, over a foundation of cream, cocoa, and blueberry. On entry, a juicy liveliness carries the wine along the center of the palate, framed by silky tannins and peppery, blue fruit. Savory herbs, berry compote, and honeyed weight bring the Syrah to a long, sensual finish. vintage