Upper Ojai, Ventura County
Because it is a rather warm site, we always start with very ripe grapes. The fermentation is done in three-ton open top tanks using native yeast, and the fermenting grapes are punched down by hand. About two percent viognier grapes from Roll Ranch are added (a la Côte Rôtie); this gives aromatic lift to the brooding warm climate fruit. The wine is pressed off into French oak barrels (one fifth of which are new) and basically the wine is not touched until August, at which time we rack (decant) the wine off its yeast lees and put it back into the barrel for another eight months. The wine is bottled without fining or filtration.
From the start this syrah has had a very beguiling aroma, and with time in the bottle the wine has developed layers of toasty and earth toned complexities. The floral and red plum aromas predominate and the flavors that follow are rich and hedonistic. In the finish there is refreshing acidity and a bite of silky tannins. This wine drinks very well right now (5/24/12) and will continue to evolve positively for another decade.
Blend: 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 390 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Vivid ruby. Energetic red berry and cherry aromas are complemented by notes of black pepper and violet. A fresh, focused rendition of syrah that provides good palate coverage without excess weight or tannins. Finishes with very good sappy persistence and an echo of peppery spice.” – JR 90 Points
“Rich, intense and concentrated, with grapey currant, wild berry and blackberry fruit that’s focused, pure and shaded by mineral and spice. Ends with a long, persistent finish. Drink now through 2016. ” 93 Points