Astrale e Terra (closed)
2003 Estate Syrah
California: Napa Valley: Atlas Peak
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is in Agent Red’s Top 5 Syrah of all time! Don’t miss out if you are a fan of incredible Syrah.
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Mission Codename: The Earth and the Stars
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate a stellar Syrah for those of our Operatives sophisticated enough to appreciate an incredible example of the varietal
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Astrale e Terra
Wine Subject: 2003 Atlas Peak Syrah – Napa Valley
Winemaker: Scott Harvey
Backgrounder: Our Operatives love a great Syrah, and they snap them up in record numbers, bucking the industry trends which suggest that Syrah sales are slightly declining. Our Operatives has proven that they are ahead of the curve in so many ways, especially when it comes to purchasing a great wine. Today, Agent Red visits with Astral e Terra, whose Atlas Peak Syrah is a delicious and bodacious interpretation of the noble varietal. As an added bonus to today’s great selection, we are happy to report that our old friend, Scott Harvey is the winemaker!
_Varietal Backgrounder_: 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 big and bold delight with richly dark flavors, deep aromatics and a plush mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Inky dark, with a heart of pure Burgundy that runs garnet to plum with ruby highlights at the edges. On swirling, the wine settles very quickly, leaving behind skinny legs that start high up on the glass, before the streak down the inside of the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic, with a pronounced initial rush of real blueberry, raspberry, anise, pepper, dark chocolate, vanilla, dried violets, softly smoked meats and the most subtle hint of tar
Feel – Velvet smooth at first, the quickly grippy and mouth-coating. The wine begins smooth and goes more hearty as medium-fine tannins take hold, introducing a soft dryness
Taste – Richly layered with darkly concentrated flavors of dark mixed berries, earthen cherry, smoky blueberry tart, softest tar, mild leather, dried meats and soft oak
Finish – Full-bodied, dark, rich and robust, the wine unveils flavors tail off in layers, beginning rich and dark, then ramping down with flavors that are at first smoky – and then more red and black fruit. Flavors linger for a long time
Conclusion – An incredible Syrah that reminds me just how great the varietal can be when crafted by a great winemaker – with the greatest possible fruit. The remote Atlas Peak region as consistently delivered wines that amaze me with theircharacter, concentration, and bold flavors. Winemaker Scott Harvey has been a Wine Spies favorite for the last two years and we are so pleased to be able to bring you this Astrale e Terra Syrah as interpreted by him and the rest of the brilliant winemaking team
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Scott Harvey
DATE OF BIRTH: 3-24-54
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bamberg, Germany
WINE EDUCATION: 1975, I apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt, Germany. Returned to Amador County to apprentice from Cary Gott at Montevina winery.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Montevina, In 1978, at the age of twenty-three, Scott took over as Head Winemaker for Story Winery
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Being European trained, I make wines to go with food—good acidity and low pH. The is considered old world style of winemaking.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Barbera
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Named 1 of the top 10 Winemakers in CA by Dan Berger
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: 2003 Scott Harvey Reserve Barbera being selected as 3rd best Barbera in the world outside of Italy.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “This wine will get you laid” (This is Scott’s famous quote but I’m not sure you’ll want to use it”)
AGENT RED: Greetings, Scott. We are thrilled to be showing the wine you made for Astrale e Terra today. You know that we have already shown your wines before – and that we are already devoted fans! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SCOTT: Thank you, Red! Thanks for selecting another one of my wines for your Operatives
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SCOTT: When I was sent to Germany as an AFS exchange student in high school, I was sent to a winemaking region of Germany. On my first day there, my “German family” handed me a glass of wine. I looked out the window at the vineyards below, got my German dictionary out and said, “does this wine come from those grapes?” They said “yes, do you want to see where it’s made?” ….and the rest is history.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
SCOTT: I got my basic training in Germany but my recent winemaking style I attribute to my mentor, Dr. Richard Peterson.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
SCOTT: Old world style. Wines that are drunk with food.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SCOTT: Dr. Richard Peterson
RED: How long have you been making wine?
SCOTT: 37 years
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SCOTT: Myself, my wife, and our consumers
RED: Tell me, what makes Atlas Peak so special?
SCOTT: Only 2% of the world has a Mediterranean climate like Napa Valley with the warm days and cool nights along with its unique soils and geography.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
SCOTT: You need to be a very clean and neat person. 90% of winemaking is janitorial.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SCOTT: Bottling the wines in the barrels. Getting ready for the 2009 harvest.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
SCOTT: It’s a full bodied Napa Valley Syrah from one of the best appellations in Napa Valley for Syrah—Atlas Peak.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SCOTT: Duck breast.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
SCOTT: I like to iron my own shirts.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
SCOTT: People drink experiences. Have fun with the wine.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
SCOTT: Whatever my wife wants to drink.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
SCOTT: Question: Do you plan to make any new wines? Answer: I’d love to make a Gewurtztraminer but my wife won’t let me.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work!
SCOTT: Thanks, again, Agent Red. Scott Harvey, over and out!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Atlas Peak region can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Harvested from our vineyards high in the mountains of the Atlas Peak appellation, this exceptional Syrah embodies characteristics typical of the varietal: robust body, spicy nose and violet inky color. Unique to this wine, though, is a jammy ripeness with floral qualities that balance the soft, rich tannins and subtle oak. Less than 3 acres of Syrah are planted in our vineyards, resulting in extremely limited production of this beautiful wine. The style of this Syrah is round and fleshy with a full structure, typical to the Napa Valley’s warm growing climate and focus on fruit.
About The Winery:
Whether we were traveling abroad or eating at our favorite local restaurant, we enjoyed experiencing a diverse array of wines and determining our own criteria for what made a wine special.
For a long time owning a winery was just a dream, until the day we found the piece of land that we knew could be the home of a very special wine. We were driving up a peaceful, winding road in a small valley in northern California, 1,250 feet above the main valley floor and sheltered by stony, majestic hills. As we gazed at the cloudless azure sky and the softly rolling hills laced with grapevines, it felt as though we were in another world. We knew this was where our dreams of winemaking were going to be made a reality.
That day, we sensed two powerful forces at work: heaven and the earth. ‘Astrale e Terra’ is Italian for ‘heaven and earth,’ and with our interest in astronomy and archaeology, the name’s inspiration seemed only natural. We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labor of love with you!
About The Winemaker:
SCOTT HARVEY – Consulting Winemaker, Scott Harvey ranks among California’s most celebrated and accomplished winemakers. He fi rst came to the attention of wine lovers and the wine trade as winemaker at Santino and Renwood where he crafted wines from some of California’s oldest vineyards and helped put the Sierra Foothills on the winemaking map. In 1996 he partnered with Richard Peterson, Ph’D at Folie a Deux winery in Napa Valley. There the winemaking duo garnered a reputation for outstanding Napa Valley wines produced from estate fruit as well as from vineyards across the Valley.
After selling Folie a Deux in 2004, Harvey created a series of new brands that took advantage of his experience in both the Sierra Foothills and Napa Valley. One reason Scott chose to work with Astrale e Terra is his extreme admiration for Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Atlas Peak appellation. According to Scott, “some of the best wines I’ve made have been produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Atlas Peak Appellation.”
As Astrale e Terra’s Consulting Winemaker, Scott is charged with overseeing harvest, winemaking procedure and the blending of the various lots that Astrale e Terra bottles from its estate vineyards.
APPELLATION: Atlas Peak, Napa Valley
VARIETAL BLEND: 81% Syrah, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon
PRODUCTION: 421 cases
COOPERAGE: 100% French Oak, 25% New French Oak
AGING: Barrel Aged for 36 Months