James David Cellars
2005 Eagle Point Ranch Syrah
Syrah •Eagle Point Ranch
California: Mendocino County
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Eagles Perch
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Wine Spies Operatives have been demanding a great Syrah. Send Agent Red to Mendocino County, where rumors have been swirling about James David’s single vineyard, Eagle Point Ranch, Syrah. If the wine is superb, procure an allotment for our thirsty Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: James David Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah
Winemaker: Larry Roberts
Backgrounder: The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s serious Syrah is a bold, single vineyard delight from the famous Eaglepoint Ranch in Mendocino. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest purple with deep garnet hues at the edges. Deeper and darker through its heart, the wine goes slightly opaque, giving the wine a richly intriguing look. After swirling, the wine leaves behind fat, wine-stained tears that move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Richly layered, this wine starts with dusky blackberry, black cherry and and dark raspberry. Just beneath these, softer aromas of dark chocolate dust, bramble, cassis, black pepper and brown spice round out the nose.
Feel – Full and round, up front, with a quickly grippy mid-palate feel. The overall mouth is full and ripe with rich fruit, and plush tannins. A soft dryness starts at the center of the palate, gradually working its way inward, leading to a mineral-laden all over the mouth dryness.
Taste – Tart flavors of young strawberry, underripe blackberry are followed by rich, extracted dark plum, blueberry, black cherry, mocha, toasty oak, black pepper and slate.
Finish – Very long and complex, with bright fruit flavors that give way to darker fruits, spice and mineral-laden black pepper. Gradually, flavors tail off, and are replaced by a pepper-spiced dryness that reminds you to take another sip.
Conclusion – This is a terrific Syrah that really stands apart from its Napa and Sonoma brethren! We have been blessed with some really wonderful examples from Napa/Sonoma, to be sure, but this wine reminds us that Mendocino County is also producing some really remarkable wines. Today’s 2005 Eaglepoint Ranch Syrah from our friends at James David Cellars is a big, bold, bright and brilliant Syrah that is rife with bright flavors, an exciting feel and deep aromatics. The result is a wine that we spent literally hours with, sniffing, swirling and sipping. The longer we swirled, the more the fruit shone through. This is not the overpowering Syrah-beast that you might be accustomed to; On the palate, this wine has such a perfect acidity, making it a friend to most meals. Enjoy now, and cellar a few bottles – if you can restrain yourself after tasting it!
This is a modern and clean Syrah that delivers great depth and flavors. After a few years in bottle, this wine is drinking beautifully now. It gives and gives, with a lush boldness that give you the impression that this wine is eager to please. Big bold to be sure, but with lots of delicate notes and focus, this is a yummy wine that your friends will go crazy for. Pair with lamb, wild mushrooms or a great grilled steak!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: David Cole, owner , assistant winemaker and cellar hand of James David Cellars
WINE EDUCATION: No formal training as a winemaker. What I have learned I learned from Larry Roberts, winemaker consultant and through books.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: My belief is make great wines, it starts in the vineyard. So when you get the fruit, be as gentle as possible to maximize what your vineyard will give you. I don’t believe in over-oaking because it takes away from the fruit and the sense of place that each vineyard shares with you.
AGENT RED: Greetings, David. We are thrilled to be showing your wine today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
DAVID COLE: I’m exciting to be sharing this great wine with you! Eagle Point Ranch in Mendocino is a fantastic vineyard that truly should be shared with everyone.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
DAVID: My step-father, Dr. Steven DeValentine, enjoyed and started collecting wine when I was young. Watching him care for his wines and ultimately building cellars in our house in the Oakland Hills and later his current home really had an impact on me. Learning that each wine was different, kind a of like kids, that made me appreciate them. And I learned from watching that wine brought people together whether family, friends, co-workers. So the impact was not just about making wine, but being able to do so and bring people together. As my friends and family will tell I love for us all to get together and share wine and food!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
DAVID: When I was growing up Napa was on the map, but not like it is today. So my influences were folks like Justin Myer at Silver Oak and Miljenko “Mike” Grgich from Grgich Hills Estate. Justin has since passed away, but he set a legacy to follow. I also really watch the showman ship and flair that Robert Mondovi had and I give him a lot of credit for really making wine a “Life Style” beverage.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
DAVID: This wine is a big bold Syrah! It truly has its own sense of place. It’s from Eagle Point Ranch in Mendocino which is a cooler area. The blackberry, the depth of character and layers of spice really balance each other well This wine when cellared will continue to give you years of enjoyment!.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DAVID: I love it with a grilled Ribeye or with Lamb Chops.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Mendocino region so special?
DAVID: The climate and soils of Mendocino really allows each wine to be distinctively different from vineyard to vineyard and then from vintage to vintage.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DAVID: For us being a small boutique winery it’s about getting more of our wines into more people’s hands. So marketing, pouring at events and sharing our wines is the key going forward. I truly believe these wines are outstanding and is just a reflection of what’s coming from us!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
DAVID: For this wine, I would decant a minimum of 30 minutes and then depending on your palate, jump in and enjoy it! Share it with friends and appreciate the time you have together. And wine in general should be appreciated for its uniqueness. It’s not Jack Daniels or Budweiser that taste the same every time. From vintage to vintage you will see differences and I think that’s what makes wine fun.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Deep dark purple in color. The nose is complex with spice and black fruit. A great mouth full of blackberries, mocha, caramel and a hint of oak. This wine is big and bold. This wine is FANTASTIC! Only 120 cases available.
About The Winery:
Here at James David Cellars we pride ourselves on the production of unique and small batch premium wines. Our wines are all handcrafted, undergo minimal handling, and are aged in high quality American Oak barrels.
Our biggest commitments are to family, friends and wine. We treat our wines like family, taking extra steps to produce wines that compliment your dining experience, yet complex enough to drink by themselves. Come share our passion as you discover the wines from James David Cellars.
David and Kathleen Cole, along with their children Austin and Morgan, purchased their first grapes during the harvest of 2007. Since then grapes and wine have become part of the family.
California farming runs deep in the Cole family. Steve and Sandy, David’s parents, along with brother Jonathan and sister Ashley, currenty farm walnuts, almonds and rice north of Sacramento, Ca. David’s Uncle Carl and Aunt Beth farm grapes, own their own wine label and have a great tasting room in Paso Robles, Ca. David brings this family tradition of farming and wine making to each bottle of wine.
We invite you to taste and enjoy the passion our family has bottled in the wines we are producing at James David Cellars!
OUR VISION: Passion, drive and creativity always fuel us. We strive to create wines that complement conversation but also drive conversation. So much of what we are about is relationships – relationships with family, friends, co-workers, employee’s, the new people we meet, the people we do business with as well as the soil and vineyards we source our grapes. It is this passion as well as our commitment to quality and excellence that make us proud to produce wine that is approachable, accessible and of great value.
Bottling Date: 5/20/09