What We Say 2008 Dry Creek Valley Syrah
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT ALERT:
Today’s wine is a stellar example of California Syrah, easily earning this special recognition as a Superior Wine.
WORLD EXCLUSIVE ALERT:
We are pleased to be the only wine merchant in the world to be showcasing today’s wine.
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Mission Codename: Deeper and deeper
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Our best-selling Syrah of all time was Rodney Strong’s own 2005 Syrah. Send Agent Red back to Rodney Strong Vineyards to retrieve their 2008 Dry Creek Valley Syrah, an exclusive wine that has developed a quiet cult following.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rodney Strong Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2008 Rodney Strong Dry Creek Valley Syrah
Winemaker: Rick Sayre
Backgrounder: Our Operatives love Rodney Strong’s fantastic Syrah, making their Syrah the most popular we have yet to feature. Today, Agent Red returns to Rodney Strong for a Worldwide Exclusive, their stunning 2008 Dry Creek Valley 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 delight with original flavors, deep aromatics and a ultra-fine mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and interesting mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Inky dark plum with an almost black core. At the edge of the glass, the finest ring of black cherry color encircles the wine. After swirling, fine color-stained tears start high up on the glass, and then run slowly downward.
Smell – Deeply fragrant, beginning with a sweet rush of jammy blackberry. This is backed up by sweet boysenberry, stewed red plum and strawberry preserves. These sit just above subtle sweet spice, anise and a hint of black pepper.
Feel – Soft and silky across the initial entry. Then, almost immediately, the wine becomes big, mouth-filling and full-bodied. Big tannins combine with a bright acidity, supporting sweet fruit and spices long into the seemingly endless finish.
Taste – Dark and rich with sweet-tart fruit flavors that are all perfectly integrated with earthen characteristics. Blackberry, dark blueberry, dark cherry and dark cranberry intermingle with woodsy dried leaves, darkest chocolate, sweet spices, a hint of oak and a subtle touch of black pepper at the very end.
Finish – Endless and flavor-filled, with jammy fruit, chocolate, spice, subtle dried meats, oak and a hint of black pepper at the end.
Conclusion – I have always been a huge fan of Rodney Strong Syrah, but this one easily tips me into the rabid fan category! This is an amazing wine that extols the best virtues of this sometimes overlooked varietal. True fans of Syrah know that Syrah con be among the most intriguing and beguiling of wine varietals. Today’s superb 2008 Rodney Strong Syrah hails from their Dry Creek Valley estate vineyards, marking a first for us; while we have had the great fortune to share with you their outstanding Alexander Valley Syrah, today’s Dry Creek Syrah make us all the more fortunate. This is a bold and flavorful wine, delivering a bold but balanced drinking experience. The wine is packed with flavor, but it maintains a great balance – without overpowering the palate. Pair this deep, food-friendly wine with a hearty meal, or enjoy it all on its own. You can bet that we did!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Rodney Strong Vineyards (look for the the brick-colored, X-shaped building) can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Rodney Strong Vineyards
About This Wine:
The Dry Creek Valley has developed a reputation as one of the premier red wine growing regions in California, and we have been growing wine grapes here for over forty years. Syrah, the noble grape of France’s Rhone Valley, has shown that it is particularly well suited to the soils and climate of Dry Creek. We crafted this syrah in our “Winery Within the Winery,” where techniques such as cluster presorting, berry sorting, cold soaking, and a free-run only protocol were accomplished in a truly state of the art facility, with small tanks and equipment sized for the most discriminating vineyard selection process.
For the second year in a row, the 2008 vintage started off with a very dry spring, which typically produces smaller clusters, smaller berries, and less canopy overall. Frost visited many vineyards over several nights in April, further reducing potential yield. Then a hot spell engulfed the region in the middle of May, while grape clusters were flowering, again threatening to lower yields. The main growing season, however was without incident, with warm to hot days and cool nights the rule. Picking commenced in typical early-autumn weather, and we harvested this unique wine on September 25th.
Bold and rich, with layers of black plum, forest floor, blueberry, tar, and toast, this impressive, full-bodied wine is aged in French oak, which adds a subtle smoky spice character. Enjoy this flavorful syrah now and over the next 3 to 6 years.
About The Winery:
Rodney Strong is one of Sonoma County’s most dramatic wineries. Visitors are invited to our hospitality center offering a sampling of the award winning wines of Rodney Strong. Enjoy wine tasting with balcony views, taking a tour of the winery’s working centers, attending special events, or just relaxing with a picnic and glass of wine on our lush lawn set among the beautiful vineyards of the Russian River Valley.
“Rodney Strong Vineyards was founded on the recognition of Sonoma County’s potential for excellence. Through decades of grapegrowing and winemaking, we continue to fulfill the promise of the fine land. Our approach is for the grapes from each vineyard and growing region to express their intrinsic character in the special wines we craft. Gentle handling, careful use of barrel and stainless steel fermentation and proper oak aging are guided and monitored to enhance the natural characteristics of our fruit.”
“Today the winery owns and farms many exceptional vineyards in Sonoma County’s prime grapegrowing appellations where our critically acclaimed Estate, Vineyard Designated and Reserve wines are grown.” – Rick Sayre, Winemaker.
About The Winemaker:
Rick Sayre – Vice President, Director of Winemaking – Rick Sayre began his winemaking career in 1970 at the age of 19 as assistant winemaker and cellar master at Simi Winery in Sonoma County. He joined Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1979 and since has been responsible for winemaking for the Winery’s Sonoma County, Estate, and Reserve wines.
As a practitioner of handcrafted wines, Rick is involved in all aspects of winemaking from vineyard management through final blending. In 1991, his hands-on approach paid off as Wine & Spirits Magazine named him “Chardonnay Winemaker of the Year”. Again, in 1999 Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences named him “Winemaker of the Year”.
Rick’s education in winemaking began in the 1970s under the direction of the world-renowned winemaster, Andre Tchelistcheff. It is to Tchelistcheff that he attributes his passion for the art and his desire to master the craft. Always a perfectionist with an eye for detail, Rick continues to apply these traits to making the fine wine of Rodney Strong Vineyards. “It’s so important to be aware of everything,” he says. “Andre taught me that a winemaker must live with his wine, from walking the vineyards, to the careful craft of guiding the wine into bottle. Even the smallest details can have an effect.”
Rick has expanded his winemaking expertise with several trips to France, where he studied the interplay of oak and wine. His voracious appetite for knowledge in winemaking from around the world also inspired journeys to Australia, New Zealand and Spain.
After visiting many of the French cooperage houses, he decided to bring their barrel toasting techniques back to the States and became the first winemaker in California to install an in-house cooperage, specializing in toasting of American oak barrels. In recent years, Rick has worked closely with World Cooperage, a renown American cooperage company, in an effort to perfect the American oak barrel for winemaking.
Since his arrival at Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rick has been instrumental in bringing worldwide notoriety to the Winery’s Estate wines. Alexander’s Crown Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chalk Hill Vineyard Chardonnay have set standards of Sonoma County winemaking, and have become favorites to consumers all over the United States.
Rick lives in Windsor with his wife, Peggy. Avid gardeners, the two are often spotted at the local farmer’s market selling their fruits and vegetables. Rick enjoys cooking delicious comfort food to accompany his wines. He also finds solace in casting a line now and again for any of a variety of fish. And, while he enjoys a handful of other sporting activities, he admits bruises and broken bones are for days past.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley