Manzoni Estate Vineyards
2005 Paraiso Vineyard Syrah
Syrah •Paraiso Vineyard
California: Monterey County: Santa Lucia Highlands
What We Say
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[Welcome to Accolades Week at The Wine Spies! All this week, we’ll be featuring wines that have won awards or high praise from judges and wine writers.]
Mission Codename: The Manzoni Code
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Unlock the secrets of the Manzoni Family
Mission Status: In Process (see below)
Wine Subject: 2005 Santa Lucia Highlands Paraiso Vineyards Syrah
90 pt Gold Medal – BTI World Wine Championships
Gold Medal – 2007 Monterey County Fair
Silver Medal – 2007 Central Coast Wine Competition
Bronze Medal – 2007 San Francisco International Wine Competition
Bronze Medal – 2007 Orange County Fair
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby
Smell – Blackberry, blueberry, licorice and rock candy, with hints of smoky white pepper
Taste – Liquid-velvet in the mouth, with chewy caramel, ripened berries, and subtle cherry. Its flavors and long finish with moderate tannins make this a fun-for-the-mouth wine
Conclusion – When we get around to creating an award of our own, this will will be its first recipient! If you love syrahs, this is a winner. If you have never had a Santa Lucia Highlands wine, or a wine made from Paraiso Vineyards grapes, or a wine made by master winemaker Steve Pessagno, where have you been all of your wine-drinking life?!
Wine Spies Mission Summary:
For generations, the Manzoni Family have farmed the fertile land of Monterey County. The presence of the family in Monterey County began in 1921, when Joseph Manzoni and his wife Carolina left their home in Switzerland to seek a new life in America. Joseph brought with him old-world secrets of wine and grappa making. It is surmised that these secrets were passed to his son, Louie Manzoni, who founded Manzoni Estate Vineyard, and later to Joseph’s grandsons, Mark and Michael Manzoni.
I recently learned that a plot was under way to steal the family’s winemaking secrets and I rushed to investigate. So enamored with Manzoni wines am I that had to take action to protect the family.
A rival winemaker identity censored boasted to a Wine Spies asset that the family’s secrets were encoded within the family crest which is emblazoned on every bottle of Manzoni wine.
I decided that in order to protect the secrets, I must first decode the crest. While I pride myself on my ability to crack codes, this one proved extremely difficult. In fact, as you read this report work is still underway to uncover additional information. Stay tuned to future reports when I will provide additional intelligence. For now, I have only been able to decode the following, which I can only conclude is either a delicious recipe or devious misinformation, meant to throw potential interlopers off the trail. You decide for yourself:
Manzoni Family Fondue Recipe
Our Fondue Ingredients:
Approximate weight Cheese content
One-pound Baby Brie
Two pounds Gruyere
Two pounds Fontina
Two Pounds Gouda
Two table spoons of flour
Two table spoons of cornstarch
Three cups Manzoni Estate Syrah Wine
Bring wine to a boil with one garlic clove, remove clove and add cheese and stir, simmer.
As with this incredible Syrah detailed above, the Fondue proved to be delicious. I suspect that this is a deliberate distraction, designed to throw me off the trail.
I will continue to attempt to decode the crest. Look for subsequent reporting in briefings on additional Manzoni wines.
The region where this wine came from can be seen in this satellite photo.
Wine Spies Technical Wine Analysis:
Harvest Date: November 4, 2005
TA: 6.8 gram/liter
156 cases bottled January 12th, 2007.
Stephen Pessagno, Winemaker
What the Winery Says
The Vineyard Paraiso boasts the first plantings of Syrah in the S.L.H. appellation. About halfway up the mountainous estate is Block 13 – in a protected canyon, the Syrah vines here benefit from slightly higher temperatures, while still expressing their SLH cool-climate character. Traditionally the grapes from this block are very Northern Rhone in style – Hermitage – like structure and spice married to bright Monterey berry character.
Winemaking Syrah grapes were crushed into one ton fermentors where they “cold soaked” for 72 hours prior to inoculation with two specialized yeasts known for their ability to produce intensely fruity wines. After fermentation the wine was pressed into a combination of new and one year old French oak barrels where it matured for 11 months.
Tasting Notes This wine has ample tannins and tremendous concentration of fruit. blackberry and licorice accentuate the nose while a moderate amount of caramel is evident in the flavor, a result of new French barrels. This wine will hold its own with intensely flavored dishes such as stews, grilled meats and strong cheeses