2003 Ladi's Vineyard Syrah
Syrah •Ladi's Vineyard
California: Sonoma County
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 even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Deerfield Ranch Winery.
The Wine Spies have captured another winery exclusive. Today’s wine is a new release that is a vailable here for the first time ever. Thank you Deerfield, for letting us scoop this incredible wine before anyone else.
Exceptional Wine Alert!
Today’s wine is, quite simply, fantastic. Need we say more?
Mission Codename: No Syrah in the headlights
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate the Sonoma Valley to find the perfect Syrah – and bring back an exclusive for our Operatives.
Secondary Objective: Complete counter intelligence disinformation campaign in order to foil rival organizations that would see an end to Wine Spies exclisives
Mission Status: Both Objectives Accomplished!
Current Winery: Deerfield Ranch Winery
Wine Subject: 2003 Syrah
Winemaker: Robert Rex (and Michael Brown, Assistant Winemaker)
Backgrounder: Some of the most popular wines we have sleuthed out for you come from the Sonoma Valley, California. Today’s mission takes Agent Red to Deerfield Ranch Winery where he meets winemaker Robert Rex and tastes his exquisite Ladi’s Vineyard Syrah.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and inky burgundy in color with light purple edges, a wet and bouncy-looking surface and thick, closely-spaced legs the streak down the glass
Smell – Voluptuous layers of ripe blackberry, and blueberry with dark powered cocoa, smokehouse meats, cedar, almond and saddle leather and a hint of wild mushroom
Feel – Full-bodied and round, this wine starts fine and smooth, then quickly coats the mouth as medium tannins grip the tongue and lips
Taste – Lush blueberry tart with smoky cherry, dark chocolate, blackberry and custard tart with rose petal and soft leather
Finish – A slightly dry forever-finish with flavors that go on and on and on and….
Conclusion – This is another incredible wine! It is perfectly balanced with great aromas, delicious flavors, a super mouth-feel – all of which act in perfect harmony and without being overpowering. I had the best experience with this wine after decanting for several hours. And, after our tasting we placed the half-empty bottle into our wine cave overnight (without gassing the bottle) and re-opened it 15 hours later. It was even better, with more pronounced fruit and softer tannins. We have sampled wines from the Ladi’s Vineyard before, but this wine really stands out as the best Ladi’s we have tried.
Robert Rex, you’re our hero! This is fantastic Syrah!
EYES ONLY INTERNAL MEMO. CLASSIFIED: LEVEL OMEGA
Rival factions have attempted to infiltrate Wine Spies ranks in order to prevent us from bringing our Operatives the best wines. Particularly irksome to these entities is the fact that we also continuously secure exclusive wines that are available only to our operatives, long before they become available to the general public.
As an Operative, you know that our secret is simple; Our love for great wine, and the care and detail with we sleuth out our wines matter greatly – to both you and to our wineries. As an Operative, this is why you joined us; you value our ability to find you only the best wines.
For our wineries, offering our operatives exclusives assures them that the first people enjoying their wines are dedicated wine lovers that will, in turn, share these wines with other Operatives and assets. While we hesitate to use the word “fad”, we do know that The Wine Spies, along with you, our Operatives, have spurned more than a few wines on to great success. We are proud of that fact and we are proud of you for doing your part – with enjoying incredible wines.
On the subject of incredible wines, today’s wine is the most recent example of our ability to procure exclusive offerings. Today’s wine, from Deerfield Ranch Winery, is available here before it is available anywhere else. And, it is great!
Robert Rex is a master winemaker and his experience shows with each sip you take of his 2003 Ladi’s Syrah. While some winemakers approach their trade as a chemist would, developing wines in a lab, Robert take a more artistic approach. Robert himself, told us that, “Wine making is more like cooking than chemistry”.
When we opened a bottle of this wine with him recently, Robert told us, “Boy, this tastes really good. I haven’t had any in at least six months. Its developed so well. All of our reds get both extended barrel aging and bottling aging. We are still selling the 2002 Syrah, but this one is really ready to drink now!”
We thank you, Robert (and all of the great folks at the winery!), for making this wine available to our Operatives first!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Deerfield Ranch Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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About This Wine:
This is a Syrah in the Rhone style of central France, not the Shiraz style of Australia, which is made more like Cabernets. This wine features the fruit, and the terroir (the earth and sense of place). The nose conjures up blackberry pie. The color is so deep it belies its brilliance. Strong legs promise weight and viscosity. All promises are kept. Take a good sip and the flavor encompasses the center of your palate with a full, immediate bloom. It then disperses without dissipation to all corners of you experience never loosing a beat, never out of focus, never diminished only redefined. The first word is delicious. Second is the realization that nothing is left out, every corner affected. Think it’s good by itself? Try it with some grilled food, meat, fish, salmon, or veggies; it will pair with each. If it’s got a little char on it the pairing will be perfect.
Ladi Danielik comes from several generations of grape growers in the Czech Republic, were grapes have been grown and wine made for thousands of years. Ladi’s been growing grapes for 25 years on the western slopes of the Mayacamus Mountains in Sonoma County. He’s been named the best grower in Sonoma five times at our annual wine competition. Ladi is a master; his experience and care show in the wine.
The winter of 2003 was colder than normal creating a deeper dormancy in the vines resulted in fewer but larger bunches. The summer was mild until very late in the season, providing long ripening with a boost at the end. We’re proactive in predicting vintage trends and worked closely with Ladi to maximize the seasonal contributions. We were rewarded with perfect fruit. All the ‘03s are nicely balanced, show good extraction of flavors and are elegantly balanced.
We harvested by hand in small bins so as not to crush the grapes on the way to the winery. We hand sorted the bunches, removing anything that wasn’t perfect. We started the fermentation on native yeast to maximize the influence of the vineyard, and then inoculated with a pure strain to highlight the nature of the grape. Fermentation was done in open topped fermenters punched by hand. Small lots were segregated, allowing us to use unique protocols of separate batches, ultimately adding to the complexity of the whole. The pressing was gentle and long, controlled by our state-of-the-art computer operated press. Barrels from several coopers were selected for their affinity to Syrah. Aging was extended for almost three years to fully develop the more subtle nuances of the wine. The wine was made cleanly assuring very low levels of histamines and sulfites assuring no red wine headaches or allergic reactions.
About The Winery:
Deerfield Ranch Winery is an award-winning winery located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley at Kenwood. We specialize in small lots of handmade wine from select Northern California vineyards. Currently we have 17 vineyards under contract and make as many as 40 separate lots of wine from those vineyards.
Our wines can be tasted FREE at the Family Wineries of Sonoma Valley tasting room at 9200 Sonoma Highway (Highway 12) in Kenwood.
We make several wine varietals and blends, something for everyone, a wine for every occasion
Production lots vary from 250 cases to 1000 cases. We will produce about 8,000 cases in 2005, and plan to grow to a maximum of 25,000 cases per year in our New Winery.
About The Winemakers:
Robert Rex started making wine in 1972 in Berkeley, California. He has worked for many different wineries, started wineries for others, specializing in rebuilding wineries and starting winemaking programs for those wineries when they changed hands. He has taught winemaking and still acts as a consulting winemaker.
Michael Browne, a native of Washington state, started making wine as an intern at Deerfield Ranch Winery in 1997. Now in his 6th year at Deerfield Michael handles the day to day cellar duties at the winery. He maintains and monitors three vintages of wine in the barrel and more than 35 separate lots from the last vintage alone. He is much more than assistant winemaker, he is part of the dynamic duo of Robert and Michael, the winemakers.
Winemaker: Robert Rex
Picked: September 30, 2003.
Aging: Barrel aged 34 months in 65% French, 35% American oak, 35% new.
Bottled: Sept. 2006.
SO2: At bottling 22ppm, SO2 at release < 8ppm.
Released: March 1, 2008.
Production: 390 cases