VERGE Wine Cellars
Syrah •Little Plot of Goodness
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek 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 even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Verge Wine Cellars.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!: Today’s VERGE Syrah is a really special wine. If you love superb Syrah, pick up this stunner.
SAVINGS ALERT!: Enjoy FREE Ground Shipping with your purchase of 6 or more bottles when you use coupon code: SPYSYRAH at checkout
Mission Codename: The Verge of Greatness
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Respond to reports that Verge Wine Cellars has crafted a remarkable Syrah. If reports are accurate, secure a quantity for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: VERGE Wine Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Syrah Dry Creek Valley
Winemaker: Mike Brunson
Backgrounder: Syrah is the sole grape used to make the world famous Rhône wines of and Hermitage. It is also the primary component of most Rhône blends, including Chateauneuf du Pape and the wines of Côte Rotie. In Australia, the grape is called Shiraz. In California, Syrah runs the gamut between classic French style and the over-the-top styles of Australian Shiraz. We Spies prefer California Syrah as they tend to find a great balance between these, but also offer the unique characteristics that only California fruit can deliver… and today’s wine DELIVERS!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep burgundy to purple with a deep and inky heart of purple, a bouncy surface and thick legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – Beautifully and richly aromatic with a unique blend of spicy earth, black currant, pomegranate, forest floor, dusky earthen chocolate, and a hint of pencil lead and smoky meats
Feel – Supple, wet and big, mouth-coating with great medium structured tannins and a cheek drying pucker!
Taste – Delicious layers of flavors, including dark mixed berry, black cherry, darkest plum, dusted dark chocolate, blueberry and subtle but lush lavender
Finish – Juicy, rich, mouth-coating, and delicious with structured tannins and flavors that linger and linger and linger…
Conclusion – This is a great and BIG and delicious Syrah. Decant for best results. On opening this wine, the nose was superb but on first sip I was worried about its heat and intensity. After a few hours, the wine transformed and became fantastic. This is big Syrah, to be sure, but its also a very unique and balanced wine with incredible aromas and flavors. Way to go Mike and Jay! Keep making great wines…
Once upon a time there was a Dragon and a princess. The dragon was very grumpy because ninjas had kidnapped his winemaker.
When the Princess learned of this she sent her army of mutant pygmy unicorns to rescue the winemaker, in order to restore the dragon’s happiness – which in turn would ensure the safety and happiness of her people.
For 80 days and 80 nights, the mutant pygmy unicorns scoured the lands, but were ultimately unsuccessful in locating the winemaker. The Princess, driven to take drastic measures, consulted with the wise wizard.
The wise wizard declared that they were on the verge of finding the winemaker and that they should not give up on their quest.
I awoke with a start, the word Verge echoing in my head. Aw, crud! I was late for the tour and tasting I had scheduled with with Verge Cellars partners Mike and Jay.
Both exceptionally great guys, I crossed my fingers in hope that they would not be miffed at my tardiness. 30 minutes later I arrived for the vineyard tour and tasting. They ribbed me for a while, but that was all in fun. Besides, these guys have known me long enough to earn the right to rib.
We spent much of the day walking the vineyard, discussing their winemaking ways, enjoying their very unique and very delicious Syrah, and, finally, enjoying a big fat BBQ lunch – which was a perfect compliment to their stupendous wine.
Of note about this wine is that it loves to breath. Open it, decant it for a few hours and you’ll have a better wine on you hands than you tasted on first opening. The aromas mellow, the fruit emerges and the flavors become more balanced and delicious. We recommend at least two hours of decant for maximum enjoyment. As an experiment, I also tried this wine after 8 hours – and it was superb. While not necessary, and certainly not always convenient, decant is recommended.
The Wine Spies love this wine. Get some, before we run out… or the dragon’s winemaker goes missing again.
A tip of the spy hat goes to Agent Ruby for providing the inspiration for the wacky dream sequence above. Have a mission idea? Please feel free to submit it!
What the Winery Says
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About The Wine:
Layer upon layer of rich dark plum, blackberry and blueberry accented with dried flowers and light wood smoke. The initial aromatic notes transition into licorice, spice and rose candy and the first sip reveals just what stressed vines can offer. After a wave of intense black fruit, spice and acidity, the wine softens forming a core of chocolate, blackberry and plum. This quaffable wine finishes with notes of cocoa dusted blueberries and hints of lavender and really showcases the “fringeness” of this block. There are plenty of ripe tannins that frame the core of this wine but the concentration and focus of the fruit and spice persist like a single note on a well-made guitar. Decant this wine for up to an hour for further enjoyment.
About The Vineyard:
This little plot of goodness lies at the top of Bradford Mountain and was planted in 1998. This tiny two-acre block of organically farmed Syrah is situated next to a strand of madrone, manzanita and oak trees. It follows a slope that leads to the headwaters of Wine Creek, a smaller tributary of Dry Creek.
Red volcanic soil, called boomer soil, dominates Bradford Mountain. This soil type and the steep slope help increase vine stress and force them to reach deeper into the soil for moisture and mineral nutrients. That equals plenty of goodness in the wine.
Only 14 miles from the ocean, this block is cooled each evening by the rolling fog. Because of the higher elevation, the sun’s intensity magnifies the vines’ natural tannins and anthocyanins. Organic farming is also key in ensuring that this block of Syrah provides fruit with great aromatic depth, rich color and classic mountain tannins.
Dry Creek Valley
VERGE Wine Cellars is dedicated to producing expressive Syrah from unique parcels and vineyards throughout the North Coast. Our inaugural release is from a spot close to home. Almost 800 feet higher than the valley floor, our block on Bradford Mountain rests about 485 steps from VERGE Winemaker Mike Brunson’s front door. This wine comes from a small block of Syrah along the eastern slope of one of the coolest spots in Dry Creek Valley.
About The Winery:
Let it henceforth be known to all mankind and future generations of winemakers, grape growers, vinophiles, wine adventurers, sommeliers, wine buyers, modern day rumrunners, moonshiners and all other discerning tipplers and non-teetotalers that:
Syrah, long in the shadow of the evil twins of greed and false devotion, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, is hereby declared the world’s finest grape varietal with no second or equal.
Syrah, a vigorous vine indeed, must suffer and strain to produce great wines but can only do so when planted far from the likes of the fertile valley.
Syrah, when found on the outlying tracts of viticultural areas, in the hills, off the back roads, next to forests and the natural habitats of insects, mammals and fowl, on the fringe, is supremely good.
Syrah, when grown organically or biodynamically in this type of place, is intrinsically superior. Why continue the use of harmful agrichemicals?
Syrah is most unique and expressive when made by small producers who seek out distinctive vineyard sources and employ small-scale, minimalist winemaking techniques.
Syrah, grown for over thirty years in California, must be pushed past mediocrity to excellence by like-minded wineries and growers.
Verge Wine Cellars will combine right site, right vineyard, right winemaking and right mind, to produce expressive, age-worthy Syrah.
Verge Wine Cellars will follow the grand traditions of our winemaking brethren and sisters from the granite hills of Hermitage to the eastern slopes of the Barossa Range to the iconoclastic Rangers here in California. Never quit.
LONG VINIFY SYRAH!
Harvest Dates: September 22, 2006
Vineyard: Little Plot of Goodness
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Barrel Aging: 14 months
Barrel Type: 20% new French Oak, 80% 1-2 year old French Oak
Blend: 100% Syrah
Release Date: March 2008