Clif Family Winery
2006 Gary's Improv Napa Valley Syrah
Syrah •Page Nord Vineyard (Oak Knoll District)
California: Napa Valley
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!
Today’s wine receives this special alert because it represents one of the finest Syrah’s we have shown here in some time
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Mission Codename: Enhance the Moment
Operative: Agent Red
Objective:Return to Clif Family Winery – and retrieve the wine that is getting all the attention, their hearty and delicious Gary’s Improve Syrah
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Clif Family Winery and Farm
Wine Subject: 2005 Gary’s Improv Syrah
Winemaker: Sarah Gott
Backgrounder: Our Operatives have always enjoyed Clif Family Winery’s bold reds. Today, Agent Red returns to Clif, a winery that is growing into a deeply skilled producer of great wines, to procure the newest Syrah, a remarkable wine that is an incredible delight to drink.
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 delight with original flavors, deep aromatics and a ultra-interesting mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and winemaker interview below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This wine shows a beautiful heart of inky dark Burgundy, with purple-plum to ruby-red hues and color that remains deeply concentrated, right out to the edge of the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic, with big fruit of deep blueberry, dark plum, brazed raspberry tart and jammy blackberry, with smoked meats, hearty earthen truffle, black pepper and soft oak, with hints of cigar box and mildest licorice
Feel – Cool, light and fast-moving up front, then mouth-coating and medium-bodied, this wine starts smooth but then becomes larger and heartier, exhibiting soft then medium tannins, but maintaining a delightful brightness throughout
Taste – Richly layered, leading with concentrated flavors of dark stonefruit, dark mixed berries, earthen dark cherry and smoky blueberry tart – then showing off a bright tartness that accentuate the red fruits in the wine. These all sit beautifully atop an earthy pepperiness, mildest leather, dark licorice, vanilla and soft oak
Finish – Full-bodied and robust, flavors tail off in layers, beginning rich and dark, then tails off with flavors that are, at first, dark and smoky – but then more high fruit flavors show up for a spell before they linger for a while – the overall effect lasting a very long time
Conclusion – We were blown away by this wine. We liked the 2005, but in contrast last year’s vintage that we sampled last year, this wine is clearly a massive improvement. Everything works in perfect harmony here. The wine is robust, but it is balanced against bright and juicy fruit; The feel is big, yet it posses a smoothness; The aromatics are bold, but possess real-fruit qualities. The overall package is a serious Syrah of balance and of fun. We paired ours with a delicious meal of Penne with fresh tomato and basil sauce with organic Asiago chicken sausage. What a delight!
We are super impressed with how well Clif wines have progressed in the past few years. They are a serious winery that creates serious wines – all in the spirit of fun. If you enjoyed previous Clif offerings we have shown here, you are sure to like this one the most.
What follows is a retransmission of an earlier mission to Clif Family Winery, in which we are introduced to Agent Green. Below you will find references to prior mission activities, including efforts made by The Wine Spies and Clif to reduce our respective carbon footprint:
Today we are pleased to introduce you to our newest Wine Spies Agent. Please join me in welcoming Agent Green!
AGENT RED: Agent Green, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to our faithful Operatives today. Welcome aboard!
AGENT GREEN: Whew! Thanks, Red! The vetting process was brutal. I had no idea that the process would be so exhaustive. That said, I am so pleased to join The Wine Spies.
RED: We’re glad to have you. Tell us about yourself, and about your unusual agent name. Our Agents usually have a codename that matches a varietal. I’m not aware of any Green wines.
GREEN: I am the new Wine Spies Agent in charge of environmental concerns here at Central Command. Its my job to make sure that we, ourselves, are an environmentally mindful organization – but I am also in charge of seeking out environmental organizations that need our help.
RED: Right, you’re bringing wineries to the party as well, right?
GREEN: Indeed. Such is the case with today’s wine offering! For every order that we process today, Clif Family Winery and The Wine Spies will include a Global Cooling Tag. The tags offset more than 300 pounds of Carbon Dioxide emissions.
RED: And who pays for the Tags?
GREEN: The Wine Spies and Clif winery share the cost!
RED: So, our Operatives pay nothing?
GREEN: Nope. Our Operatives get a great wine – at 20% off – and we purchase the Carbon offset in their name. Anonymously, of course. We never blow our Operative’s cover!
RED: How often can we expect to hear from you, Agent Green?
GREEN: Hopefully a bunch!
RED: And should wineries and environmental organizations get in touch with you?
GREEN: Absolutely! I invite them to get in touch. I also invite anyone that wants to help spread the word about our initiatives. Bloggers, activists, concerned citizens and others, should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RED: Thank you, Agent Green. On behalf of the founding agents, Agent White and myself, welcome aboard!
GREEN: Thanks Red!
Agent Green reporting:
Greetings, Operatives! I am very happy to be the newest member of the Wine Spies team. Please feel free to reach out to me if you want our help with your environmental cause. If you want to work with us to promote our causes, let me know how you want to help. At the risk of sounding very cliche, together, we can make a difference.
- Agent Green
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Clif Family Winery and Farm can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
Five-Star California Syrah, Quarterly Review of Wines, Summer 2009 – “Plush, pure, silky, utterly delicious, blackberry and vanilla crème flavors.”
About The Wine:
A classic Rhone-style Syrah with aromas of smoked meats, white pepper and ripe blueberry. A medium-bodied wine with bright fruit flavors like ripe plum and black currant that intermingle with pepper, vanilla and hints of anise, leading to a well-balanced mouthfeel and long, smooth finish.
The 2006 vintage started with a cool wet spring and late bud break, followed by mild summer temperatures that allowed for longer than normal hang times. This resulted in wines with good intensity, concentration and balance. The fruit for our 2006 Syrah comes from Page Nord Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District located south of Yountville. Page Nord Vineyard is farmed using sustainable practices and is Green Certified by “Fish Friendly Farming”. The wine was aged for 20 months in 25% new French Oak and 75% used French and American Oak.
About The Winery:
You may know us as the people behind Clif Bar & Company. We are the makers of CLIF BAR®, LUNA® and other nutritious, organic foods and drinks. Our passion for food comes out in our convenient, portable food products. However, life is not only about portability and convenience.
We started Clif Bar & Company. in 1992 with a passion for food, family and adventure. This passion continues in all aspects of our life. We enjoy working in the kitchen preparing delicious artisan foods and sharing meals with family and friends. Wine plays a big role in these occasions.
This lifestyle and our interest in wine led our family to the Napa Valley. We purchased a piece of property with plenty of land to raise horses, goats and chickens and to eventually plant our own vineyards.
In our busy lives, Clif Bar Family Winery & Farm reminds us that we need to slow down. We hope our wines become a part of your own adventure and remind you to slow down and find pleasure in everyday life.
Gary Erickson & Kit Crawford
Owners, Clif Bar Family Winery & Farm
Release Date: Spring 2009
Cases Produced: 300 Cases
Winemaker: Sarah Gott
Suggested Retail Price: $35.00