Huntington Wine Cellars
2005 Hidden Hill Reserve Syrah
Syrah •Hidden Hill Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Huntington Wine Cellars.
Wine Spies Exclusive Alert!
Today we are pleased to bring you another Wine Spies Exclusive This fantastic Sonoma County Reserve Syrah is a limited release wine that is usually only available in the Huntington Wine Cellars room and on a limited basis to members of their wine club. The Wine Spies, through TOP SECRET negotiations with our inside operatives were able to secure an allocation of this great wine for our operatives.
Mission Codename: Soaring Above It All
Operative: Agent Red
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Huntington Wine Cellars
Wine Subject: 2004 Sonoma County Reserve Syrah
Winemaker: Kerry Damskey
Aaaaaaand again, The Wine Spies scoop another fantastic exclusive that you can’t buy in your local bottle shop or corner grocery. Through special relationships with wine producers, growers and suppliers, we are able to secure special allocations of wine that you won’t find anywhere else. You have two choices when buying todays wine – Go to the winery in beautiful downtown Healdsburg, California, or pick some up here during our limited-time sale.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A richly dark and inky violet and a nearly black core with thick, tightly-spaced laegs that soar down the glass
Smell – Balanced aromas of cherries and fruit with hints of licorice and aromatic flowers.
Feel – Big structure with a wet and warming, mouth-coating feel – then medium to big tannins that grab your tongue, dry your cheeks, and pucker your lips!
Taste – Big balanced flavors of with an initial hit of ripe fruit, with blueberry, plum, currant and smoky blackberry rounding out the fruits – then, a dry earth and mineral component sneaks in to add to the layered flavors in the wine
Finish – Initially dry and sweet, then slightly tart with a long-lasting blackberry flavor that tapers off slowly
Conclusion – This is a Syrah that I can’t help but be very enthusiastic about! It has a balance and a richness that I find lacking in other California Syrah. With its layers of concentrated flavors and its big pleasing smoky-fruit nose, this is a wine that is superbly drinkable as a stand-alone. I enjoyed a glass recently with soft cheeses, fresh potato pancakes and Capresse.
I love this sort of mission: After an urgent call from Central Command, I sprang into action to find a winery-“only” wine for our field Operatives.
As a spy, I am required to think fast – and press appropriate resources into service on a moments notice. I am dedicated to my craft and my personal network of assets in the field is world-class – and wine-industry deep.
Today I called, once again, on one of my most trusty wine informants, Codename: Stone_. A flurry of phone calls, a little old-fashioned greasing of some wheels (_don’t call it bribery) and a clandestine rendezvous later and I had in my hands an absolute superstar of a wine… as became apparent after a brief in the field swirl-and-sip session.
Today’s wine is only available directly from the winery. How, exactly, do we get our hands on these wines? Its all about quality connections and sharing the love. Our dedication to our Operatives and to our wineries is felt by all involved.
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the Huntington Wine Cellars tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
Our 2005 Reserve Syrah from Alexander Valley is dramatically dark and luscious, erupting with white pepper, smoked meat, cherry-cassis and hints of chocolate. In the mouth, it doesn’t disappoint, it’s a wine of depth, power and charm.
The Huntington Wine Cellar’s Falcons:
Clouds of starlings undulating low across the Wine Country landscape are a common sight during harvest time of year. Next time you see one, think of William Shakespeare and Huntington Wine Cellars.
Shakespeare’s single reference to starlings in Henry IV inspired Eugene Schiffelin to import some 60 of the European birds to New York’s Central Park in 1890. It seems Eugene held the haplessly romantic view that all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works should be represented in the New World.
Over a century and 200 million avian offspring later, the European starling has become a virulent threat to the United States wine industry. Thousands strong, a flock of starlings can alight upon a vineyard and decimate it in minutes as the hungry birds tear apart ripening grapes to extract the seeds inside.
Huntington Wine Cellars is at the forefront in managing the threat posed by starlings in an environmentally sensitive way. In a twist on the ages-old sport of falconry, Huntington uses falcons to scare off—not kill—the starlings before they can inflict damage on the vineyard. As harvest approaches, Huntington contractor Jim Tigan who owns Tactical Avian Predators launches daily falcon patrols to guard vineyards at most risk to starling damage. Huntington commemorates this sustainable agricultural practice by using the falcon as its corporate symbol, included on the label of every Huntington wine.
Once harvest is finished, the falcons will be rewarded with time off and extra rations of fresh quail – purchased from a restaurant supplier – before returning to their other job of airport protection. The grapes go on to become wine, and all’s well that ends well.
The Vineyards and Winemaking:
Based in Healdsburg, California, Huntington wines are produced from small lots of select varietal grapes from several unique vineyard sources throughout California. Vineyards such as Stuhlmuller in Alexander Valley, Mauritson and Preston Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, Nelson Vineyard in Alexander Valley, Nevins Vineyard in Bennett Valley, Herrick Vineyard in Russian River Valley, Mettler Vineyard-Lodi and Doctor’s Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands are some of the vineyards that contribute to the production of Huntington’s world-class wines.
We are committed to crafting each wine with the utmost attention to detail, taking every step possible to ensure that our wines are the truest expression of both their variety and terroir. The wines express the fruit from which they are made and the vintage in which they are grown, with all other elements in balance to complement the fruit.
Huntington wines have the richest, most intense flavors with unique character. It is fitting then that the visual identity of Huntington includes a majestic falcon on the label. Each vintage of Huntington wine boasts a unique label known as “Drinkable Art”, a reproduction of a work of fine art incorporating Huntington’s signature falcon painted by artist in residence Ken Schilling.
Kerry Damskey, Winemaker – Bigger than life Kerry Damskey leaves a lasting impression on everyone he meets and is best described as the personification of lust for life. Kerry believes that wine is made in the vineyard and the winemaker is merely the “midwife” in the artisan process of winemaking. "It’s the winemaker’s job to articulate a definable style for a wine but you don’t create an identity – that must come from the grapes.” Kerry is the founding winemaker of Huntington, having been personally involved with the brand since its beginning in 1989. He holds a degree in fermentation science from UC Davis, is a graduate of the intensive program for small business at Stanford University School of Business, and additionally is a candidate of the Institute of the Masters of Wine. He is one of California’s top winemakers and one of a very few to win twice, the coveted ‘Sweepstakes’ award from the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
Release Date: September 01, 2007
Varietal Notes: 100% Syrah