2005 Paso Robles Syrah
Syrah •Mélanges du Rhone
California: Paso Robles
What We Say
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TOP SECRET EXCLUSIVE: _Today we have a very special wine for our operatives. We were able to sleuth out another limited exclusive, this time from prolific winemaker, Jeff Ritchey of Sensorium Wines. This wine, a wonderful 2005 Paso Robles Syrah, is difficult to find on sale anywhere but a few places in California. We are offering today’s wine at 25% off its retail price with free shipping on Six bottles_ (use promo code SPYSHIP)
Mission Codename: Enliven your Senses
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit Sensorium Wines and select another of winemaker Jeff Ritchey’s stellar wines
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Sensorium Wines
Wine Subject: 2005 Paso Robles Syrah
Winemakers: Jeff Ritchey
Jeff Ritchey makes wine. Great wine, and for years Jeff acted as primary winemaker or consulting winemaker for many different wineries. He has earned a reputation for turning out great wines for these wineries and, in 2002, started his own Sensorium Wines. Read the mission briefing below for more detail.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Sparkling ruby red to very slight garnet-to-purple with great clarity and a dense heart with thick legs that creep down the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic with a great rush of dense earthy musk with bacon ripe dark stone fruit and subtle cigar tobacco, cedar and fall leaves
Feel – Great mouthfeel that is cool and wet, with a light tannic grip that grabs gently across the top-front of the tongue and then warming toward the back of the mouth
Taste – A rush of very gently spiced plum, followed by a vegital cherry and cedar-smoked blackberry. Thar be oak here, but in its proper place; its not overpowering.
Finish – Vegital, smoky-sweet and fruity at first, then fruity and sweet, with a gentle and gradual drying
Conclusion – This is another great wine from one of our most favorite winemakers! Jeff Ritchey is a modern artisan winemaker that creates wines that blend old-world tradition with new world techniques. His wines are always well-rounded and in perfect balance, with aromatics and flavors that one could spend days examining. Jeff’s wines are expressive and refined, but not pretentious. Living up to the name of the winery, Jeff’s wines really do enliven the senses
Winemaker Jeff Ritchey makes great wines and has been winemaker from prestigious wineries such as Gundlach Bundschu in Sonoma County, Clos LaChance in Saratoga, Clos LaChance in San Martin to name a few.
Today, Jeff continues as consulting winemaker for a handful of California wineries, like San Saba Vineyards, Picchetti Winery, the Los Gatos Wine Company and Fleming-Jenkins, where is experience and skill help these wineries to turn out consistently great wines. He is also a partner in another winery that he helped start, Blue Cellars.
In 2002 he started Sensorium Wines where he was able to experiment and make the wines that he wanted to make. We have loved Jeff’s efforts at San Saba and elsewhere and unrestrained by outside influences Jeff is now turning out wines of his own. And, my dear spies, his wines are great.
As busy as Jeff is, I managed to connect with him after a prolonged surveillance. At a recent tasting, Jeff introduced me to his wines and to his partners in wine production. Great wines and a great group of folks.
Between sips, Jeff explained that, “Sensorium specializes in small lot, handcrafted Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from select vineyards in Napa Valley, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the Central Coast. Our wine exhibits a balance of richness and complexity that rewards the discerning taster, yet allows for the simple pleasure of drinking it Our focus is on making elegant wines that engage the senses and reveal themselves in evolving, ever-deepening, and surprising ways. In other words, wines you can feel.”
Jeff’s wines have a cult following and are only available in a limited number of venues. We are fortunate to be able to bring you a small quantity of his special wine – at a very special price. Jeff hopes that you enjoy his wines and assures you that when you become a fan, he’ll have more wine for you. Just come back to The Wine Spies and we’ll provide you with the Top Secret hook-up!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The El Pomar region of Paso Robles (where the greaps for this great wine were grown) can be seen in this satellite photo
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
This intense and elegant Syrah was grown on a carefully tended vineyard south east of Paso Robles in the ‘Templeton Gap’ It’s low yield, cool climate expert management and limestone rich soils produced small grapes with intense flavor and color. The 2005 growing season was late in California allowing for a long hang time on the vine. This wine has concentrated aromas of raspberry, blackberry, cherry, vanilla, smoky bacon and toast followed by well balance and silky tannins in the mouth. Approachable now, but it will age well for years to come.
About The Vineyard:
This small vineyard is located southeast of Paso Robles, California in the cool area known as the Templeton Gap. The Templeton Gap is low point in the Coastal Range that allows sea breezes to cool the vineyards in the afternoon. Planted to the Syrah Noir clone on tight 4 × 6 foot spacing on a vertical trellis; it yielded only 2 tons per acre. Our winemaker, Jeff Ritchey, has worked with vineyard manager/owner Lee Alegre for close to 10 years and identified this vineyard as something special. As a result of this relationship, Sensorium Wines was able to purchase the 2005 and future harvests from this vineyard. The grapes were hand picked at the peak of flavor and crushed within hours of harvest to insure this peak flavor was maintained.
Vineyard: MdR – Mélanges du Rhone
Appellation: Paso Robles
Blend: 100% Syrah
Aging: 10 months in 50% new French and American oak
Brix @ harvest: 25.5 – September 29, 2005
Production: 100 cases
Release date: December 1, 2006