Santa Barbara County

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This vineyard is planted on hillsides of pure sand in Cat Canyon near Los Alamos. The syrah vines struggle to survive since sand can hold neither nutrients nor water well. The production is absurdly low. In fact, these are almost always the most expensive syrah grapes we purchase. The wine that’s made from this spot is as unique as the vineyard looks. An intense but lovely red berry character is followed by an intriguing seaweed-iodine spiciness–this aromatic association exists perhaps because the soil here is an ancient seabed. In any case, it’s quite unique. The tannins are copious, but super-fine textured. Being one canyon closer to the ocean than Thompson Vineyard, the climate is just cool enough that we never have to worry about the acidity level of the grapes; there is always a zesty tang to this wine that keeps it lively.

2007 was a drought year, and these stressed vines produced tiny berries that made for a particularly dense White Hawk syrah. This one has all the tools to age gracefully for many years.

The fruit was destemmed and chilled to 45˚F. After a six day cold soak the native yeast began fermenting the sugars into alcohol. We punched down (mixed) the grapes three times a day in the initial phase of fermentation. As the yeast produced alcohol, we decreased the number of punch downs to avoid extracting too much tannin. When the fermentation was complete the wine was pressed into French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 19 Months | Total Production: 241 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Inky ruby.  Pungent aromas of blackcurrant, blueberry and briary herbs, with slow-mounting smokiness.  Deeply pitched dark fruit flavors show liqueur-like intensity and become spicier with air.  Closes down on the finish, which features fine-grained tannins and a distinct blueberry quality.  I’d stash this one away for a while.” – JR 91 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2007 Syrah White Hawk is round, sweet and harmonious. Plums, smoke, licorice are some of the notes that emerge from this rich, deep Syrah. There is plenty of power and structure supporting the fruit all the way through to the long, persistent finish. This is texturally brilliant and striking.” – AG 93 Points