Lazy Creek Vineyards
2007 Anderson Valley Syrah
California: Mendocino County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine, from Ferrari-Carano’s sister winery, Lazy Creek Vineyards, is an exemplary Syrah, earning it today’s Superior Wine Alert, which we issue when a wine really knocks our socks off. (Please send Agent Red some new socks!)
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Mission Codename: Transcending
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Respond to reports that our friends at Ferrari-Carano Winery have a secondary, stealth label that is making extraordinary Syrah in the Anderson Valley. If the wine is as good as the rumors suggest, procure an ample allotment for our Syrah-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Lazy Creek Vineyards (Ferrari-Carano)
Wine Subject: 2007 Alexander Valley Syrah
Winemaker: Christy Griffith-Ackerman
Backgrounder: The Anderson Valley AVA in Mendocino County runs long the Anderson River, which flows northwest from near Boonville toward Navarro. The west side of the Anderson River rises to a region known as the Mendocino ridge, a higher elevation aspect than much of the inland wine growing regions in Mendocino County. It is one of California’s coolest wine growing regions with the climate most influenced by proximity coast. The region is also well known for having a diverse alluvial soil structure that supports a wide variety of grapes, especially Syrah.
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 delightful Syrah is a bold and balanced delight with deep flavors, dark aromatics and a voluptuous mouth feel
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deepest dark garnet, with a darker but clear heart. Color is evenly concentrated, and at the rim of the glass, magenta colored edging catches the light. After spinning the wine, tall, tightly-packed tears march very slowly downward.
Smell – Lush aromas of ripe blackberry, boysenberry and warm spice leap from the glass. After swirling and sipping for a while, additional aromas emerge, including cigar box, leather, black cherry and red plum. Underpinning all of these are brown spice and cracked pepper.
Feel – Light and soft on initial entry, then quickly grippy and mouth-filling with a plush, crushed velvet feel that expands on the mid-palate. Plush tannins and bright acids play together in perfect harmony, adding complexity and texture to the wine.
Taste – Dark mixed berry compote or blackberry, smoky blueberry, dark cherry and cassis. As the wine opens up, sweet oak, tobacco leaf, brown spice, black pepper and dried meats emerge.
Finish – Very long and very flavor-filled, with rich black fruit yielding to spice, cedar, pepper, bramble and soft smoked meats.
Conclusion – Exemplary, outstanding, delicious and complex, this terrific Syrah delights all of the senses with its fantastic fruit, complex flavors and plush mouthfeel. 2007 was such an outstanding vintage for Northern California reds, and it seems that the Anderson Valley Syrah was particularly blessed, as well. Today’s 2007 Lazy Creek Vineyards Anderson Valley Syrah, from the Ferrari-Carano Winery is a big, flavorful wine that shows off great fruit and stylized winemaking. Be sure to spend a good deal of time with this wine, swirling and oxygenating, allowing it to open up in the glass. As it breathes, it really opens up, revealing more subtleties and finer fruit. Pair with something flavorful, bold, spicy or complex. Tangy pork ribs come to mind. Enjoy!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Christy Griffith-Ackerman
WINE EDUCATION: B.S. in Food Science, Enology from California State University Fresno
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Assistant Winemaker at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg, Associate Winemaker at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery and current Winemaker at Lazy Creek Vineyards.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: I work with a diverse range of vineyards so I like to let the uniqueness of each come through in my winemaking, with little intervention
WINEMAKER QUOTE: _ “Wines are like people, some just take a bit longer to show their colors”_
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2006 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Ferrari-Carano
AGENT RED: Greetings, Christy. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Lazy Creek Vineyards Syrah today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
CHRISTY GRIFFITH-ACKERMAN: I am so excited to be featured today
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
CHRISTY: Not a specific experience but an overall appreciation for, nature and science. Many things in nature; colors, textures, and aromas influence my winemaking and it all happens with science.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
CHRISTY: I would say the wines of Burgundy and Rob Davis, Winemaker at Jordan Vineyards and Winery
RED: Who do you make wine for?
CHRISTY: For the person who celebrates that food and wine are meant to be enjoyed together in our everyday life.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
CHRISTY: This 2007 Syrah from Anderson Valley is unfined and unfiltered. It was co-fermented with a small amount of Muscat to give a very fruit forward palate and partially whole cluster fermented to give a nice spice and mouthfeel. I like to describe it as a blackberry pie sprinkled with pepper.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
CHRISTY: I love this Syrah with duck, lamb and any kind of creamy cheeses. It’s not bad with dark chocolate either.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Anderson Valley such a special place for Syrah?
CHRISTY: In particular for Syrah, the cooler region of the Anderson Valley allows for more fruit and pepper character, and less of the meaty, wild game flavors.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
CHRISTY: After just finishing the 2011 harvest we are monitoring malolactic fermentations, and stirring the whites in barrel.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
CHRISTY: I believe everyone should enjoy wine with food. I love to see someone taste a wine and then taste that same wine with food and really see the subtle complexities come out.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CHRISTY: Please visit our estate and tasting room in the Anderson Valley when we re-open in the spring and you can always purchase our wines on our website.
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!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Lazy Creek Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Deep, opaque purple in color, our 2007 Lazy Creek Vineyards Syrah has deliciously lush aromas of boysenberry, brambleberry, pepper, and spice, with a rich, dense palate of ripe plum, wild berry, blackberry, toasted oak, spice and earth. Powerful and complex, our Syrah has a full bodied, velvety texture and finish.
VINTAGE NOTES: Peaceful and bucolic Anderson Valley, located just off the coastal region of Mendocino County, has warm sunny days and cool, foggy mornings and nights that are ideal for growing grapes. Early bud break in March led to a dry and moderate spring and summer. The
grapes for this wine were harvested in late October. Overall this had to be one of the shortest harvests we can remember, with slightly lower yields than average, but with incredible concentration and intensity of flavors in the grapes.
WINEMAKER NOTES: This unfiltered Syrah is sustainably farmed, utilizing only organic materials in the vineyards. The grapes from the low-yielding vineyard are hand-harvested, fermented in macrobins — partially whole-cluster fermented — carefully basket-pressed and aged in new and older French oak before bottling in November, 2008.
FOOD PAIRINGS: Our 2007 Lazy Creek Vineyards Syrah is delicious with flavorful foods such as eggplant, sautéed mushrooms, game, lamb, barbecued meats such as pork ribs and hamburgers, pizza, and pasta with meat sauces. Indian and Thai dishes also pair well. Hard and pungent cheeses are delicious with this wine. Try the Syrah paired with chocolate for a delicious dessert.
About The Winery:
Lazy Creek Vineyards is named for the meandering creek that runs through the 95-acre ranch located four miles west of Philo in Anderson Valley.
A pleasant detour off Highway 128, Lazy Creek’s narrow, dirt road overgrown with rambling bushes and ferns, towering redwoods and oak trees, opens onto the rustic farmhouse, barn, cottages and winery outbuildings with its menagerie of animals, gardens, fruit trees and vineyards — all welcoming visitors to this truly magical place. One of the smallest and second oldest wineries in the valley, Lazy Creek is home to award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Riesling.
The Story of Lazy Creek Vineyards: When Don and Rhonda Carano discovered Lazy Creek Vineyards, their first thought was, “What a magical place!” The quiet simplicity and charm reminded them of when they first started in the wine business over 30 years ago as grape growers on a small ranch in Alexander Valley, and where they established Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma County a few years later.
Don and Rhonda purchased the 95-acre Lazy Creek ranch in 2008 from Josh and Mary Beth Chandler. Planted to roughly 40 acres of grapes including Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Chardonnay, it was love at first sight for Don and Rhonda. Their true passion and heart has always been, first and foremost, in land and all that it brings. Lazy Creek – the vineyards, the farm, the animals, the gardens, the special Heritage roses – truly represents a personal journey for them.
Prior to Josh and Mary Beth, Hans and Theresia Kobler operated Lazy Creek for 26 years, after purchased the property from the Pinoli family, the original founders of this ranch in the early 20th century. Hans and Theresia began the arduous task of planting additional vineyards, including Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Hans established Lazy Creek as a producer of award-winning Alsatian-style Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir wines.
Don and Rhonda honor the philosophy and tradition of producing the Alsatian-European style of wines that Lazy Creek enthusiasts have come to enjoy. “We truly believe that great wines begin in the vineyards, and we feel honored to carry on the tradition of superbly-crafted, artisan wines established by those before us at Lazy Creek,” says Don Carano. Also believing whole-heartedly in allowing the vineyards to express themselves is Lazy Creek Vineyards Winemaker Christy Griffith.
Appellation: Anderson Valley, Mendocino County
Varietals: 99.75% Syrah, 0.25 Muscat
Cooperage: 12% new French oak, 88% older French oak