2009 Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Syrah
Syrah •Mariah Vineyard
California: Mendocino County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s Syrah, from our new friends at Aldrich Browne, is distinctive and delicious wine, earning it this special designation. Quantities are limited, so please be sure to read our full review.
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Mission Codename: Honoring the Past
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Respond to reports that Aldrich Browne is has crafted an extraordinary Single Vineyard Syrah from the Mednocino Ridge Appellation. If the wine is as good as the rumors suggest, procure an ample allotment for our Syrah-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Aldrich Borwne
Wine Subject: 2006 Mariah Vineyard Syrah
Winemaker: Boela Gerber
Backgrounder: Today’s is made by award-winning South African winemaker, Boela Gerber. For more than a decade, Boela has headed winemaking for South African wine powerhouse, Groot Constantia, one of the nations most prestigious wineries. When he’s not in South Africa, he makes small batches of premium California wines with his partners, under their Aldrich Browne wine label. Their specialty is Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Mendocino Ridge AVA, located along Coastal Mendocino County, to the north of Sonoma County, where the grapes for this delicious Syrah were grown. The actual AVA is centered between Hopland and Ukiah in the southern third of the county and are heavily influenced by the climate which is regulated by the mountain ridges that surround the upper Russian River. The deep alluvial and gravelly loam soils also contribute to the flavor profile of the grapes grown in the region. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are the primary grapes grown here, but Syrah thrives in small, cool-climate pockets along the coast.
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 – Dark burgundy, with a clear but darker heart. Color is evenly concentrated, from core to rim, where a thin ring of magenta runs a circle around the glass. After spinning the wine, tall, thin, wine-colored tears move very slowly downward.
Smell – Lush and ripe, with blackberry, warm spiced plum and bramble leap from the glass. After spinning the wine for a while, it really comes alive, introducing follow-on aromas of dried meats, brown spice, dried violets, leather and cigar box.
Feel – Light and soft on initial entry, with a feminine feel that gradually expands to become more full, plush and complex. Integrated tannins and bright acids play together in perfect harmony, giving the wine greater complexity and texture.
Taste – Dark mixed berries mingle with earthy dark dried flower petals. Primary flavors include young blackberry, black cherry, plum, and cassis. As the wine opens up – after some hearty swirling – it reveals flavors of leather, dried meats, black pepper and dusty bramble.
Finish – Very long, with dark, lingering berry fruit that slowly yields to the darker flavors of dried meats and leather, along with the more earthen flavors of bramble and spice.
Conclusion – Today’s delicious Syrah delivers the best that Old World and New World have to offer, where the complex, earthen characteristics of Old mingle with dark, flavorful, New World fruit. Winemaker, Boela Gerber, brings his lifelong love of wine to bear on today’s delicious 2009 Mariah Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Syrah. The wine, which is a little shy on first pouring, really opens up and its fruit, texture and flavors really come to life. A balanced wine with plenty of complexity, this medium-acidity wine is an obvious companion for a great meal. Pair this wine with a savory pork loin or tangy ribs. Drinking very well now, we believe that this wine will continue to progress for the next several years.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the VINEYARD can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Syrah done right — earthy, wild and seductive. Perched precariously at 2,600 feet, the same can be said for Mariah Vineyard. It’s a virtual island in the sky. Farming is tough on Mendocino Ridge, but the Pacific air and bold determination of this local grower combine to produce some of the best Syrah we’ve tasted.
The perfect complement to food and friends.
We’ve been lucky to find a determined grower (some would say he’s crazy!) who shares our vision. He’s a small farmer growing grapes off the grid at 2,600 feet on Mendocino Ridge (go to Boonville, take a left and drive until it looks like you will fall off a cliff). Our first vintage is 332 cases of 2009 Mariah Vineyard Syrah.
Tasting Notes: Huckleberry, Blackberry Cobbler, Salted Caramel, Salt crusted meat, like a rib of beef (definitely sea salt)!, Black coffee, or even affogato, Perhaps a hint of rosemary, sage, anise
About The Winery:
At Aldrich Browne, we don’t just taste wine – we drink wine.
And, that’s exactly what we were doing one sunny Sunday afternoon in Healdsburg, California.
As friends who had worked together to create some of the world’s best known brands, we decided it was time to build something small. Yes, something small.
We applaud handmade. We admire craftsmanship. We like real food and the people who prepare it. We absolutely adore the people who grow it. We’re captivated by old days and old ways.
Taking a hands-on approach, we’ve learned from the first pioneering winemakers and our grandmothers in the kitchen. We’re inspired by a generation that taught us about character, not to waste, the value of hard work, and the true meaning of hospitality.
With our first release, we are concentrating on how delicious and food-friendly our cool climate Syrah is. Our second release was a very limited Sauvignon Blanc—it sold out immediately.
In their honor, Aldrich Browne comes from our grandmothers’ maiden names.
Varietals: 100% Syrah
Vineyard elevation: 2,600 feet. Dry-farmed
Harvested: October 13th, 2009. Bottled August 13th, 2010.
Vinified: Peay Vineyards, Cloverdale, CA