2000 THOMPSON SYRAH Special Bottling

Santa Barbara County

So what makes the 2000 Thompson Special Bottling special–besides the wooden box it comes in if you buy six bottles? Well, we think Thompson is special every year, but, in 2000, the wine is extraordinary.

At Thompson, things looked like usual near harvest. Our spot at the top of the hill was ripening up more quickly than the rest of the vineyard, which is typical. Then we had an incredible hot spell that propelled the grapes from near ripe to over-the-top. I chose not to water down the grapes to normal sugar levels when they came into the winery, a decision that caused about 20 months of worry. The wine did not finish its fermentation, and, after it was put in barrel, it continued to bubble along. Wines that fizz along in the barrel are all right, but the problem is that they have the potential for turning quickly into vinegar. So basically we had to bite our fingernails continuously for almost two years. All that worrying must have protected the wine from harm, because, in the spring of 2002, it finally finished fermenting without any problems developing. The result of all of this is a wine that is super-sized, if that is not an oxymoron, because Thompson is always huge. That coffee-like chocolatey character, the cardamom spice, the tannins, –everything is amplified. The wine has been in the bottle for a year, and is just coming around now. Earlier, it was impossible to taste, and it still begs for cellaring. We have been making Thompson since 1997, and it is always an “extreme wine”, this one is just more so.