VARIETAL / VINEYARD: Our 2018 Syrah comes from three blocks planted to four clones of Syrah. For those of you scoring at home, the clones are 174, 877, 383, and our original selection obtained from Durell in Sonoma, planted on low-vigor rootstock in 1998. We have been increasingly impressed with the fruit complexity from each of these clones. Our winery block Syrah shows more cool-climate aromas and flavors (blueberry, olive) reminiscent of the Northern Rhône wines Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph.
VINTAGE: 2018 was an excellent growing season. Cool August weather extended the growing season and helped provide color, body, and acidity. This is particularly evident with our winery block Syrah. We harvested all of our Syrah blocks from September 27th to the 29th. As with many of the 2018 wines, this Syrah shows dense color and very expressive floral, spicy aromas with intense fruit and tannin structure. It easily ranks as one of, if not the best vintage for our winery Syrah.
WINEMAKING: We ferment our Syrah in small open-top tanks. After a 5-day cold soak, fermentation begins with indigenous yeast. Cap management consists of punch-downs or pump-overs twice daily. Once dry, the pomace is basket-pressed, blended with free-run wine, and transferred into barrels. A small portion of this wine was whole-cluster fermented, enhancing aromas. The wine was aged in only French Oak, 35% new, for 13 months.
STYLE / DESCRIPTION: Our 2018 Syrah is our version of a super-charged Saint Joseph, from the Northern Rhone. Deep color, intense violet, blackberry and blueberry aromas are followed by a juicy but structured Syrah. While this wine has more finesse than the Benchland Syrah, it has the tannin to age well over the next 5 to 8 years.