A tribute to Syrah of the Northern Rhone, low in alcohol, balanced, approachable, less ‘Saint Joseph’ like than the 2011 with pretty delicate aromatics that captivate.
On the nose the wine is complex, layered, and seductive, leaping from the glass with aromas of violets, blueberry, thyme, mushrooms, forest floor, and a hint of smoked meat that should intensify with time.
On the palate, the wine is delicate and layered with flavors of black olive tapenade, blueberry, smoked meat.
Pairs wonderfully with meat dishes, roasted lamb being my personal favorite.
Cool climate Syrah is a wonderful expression of the more elegant side of Syrah. Though Russian River Valley is dominated by Pinot Noir, its modest warm days and cool foggy nights provide an excellent growing environment for Syrah, achieving a balance of ripeness and acidity. The Syrah block in the vineyard grows on a hillside, next to where we pick Grenache. This release was crafted from portions of 3 barrels, each contributing a unique element. One of the three barrels was whole cluster fermented, contributing the fragrant aromas that leap out of the glass when poured.
This is the one of the few Saralee’s Vineyard designate Syrah made, enjoy!
The Syrah is divided into separate ½ ton bins for open top fermentation. Fermentation occurs naturally with indigenous yeast. Half of the bins are 100% whole cluster with stems included, and 35% whole berry. The remaining lots are de-stemmed with 20% whole berry intact during primary fermentation. Separating these lots during fermentation and barrel aging allows for more flexibility when selecting which components go into this varietal release, as well as the Syrah|Mourvedre and Pastoral Rouge blends.
After fermentation, the wine is pressed into neutral French oak barrels, without settling, where secondary fermentation occurs naturally, and they age for 10 months. The wine remains on the lees for 6 months, until racking begins, 4 months before bottling. The final lots are assembled after several weeks of blending trials, then were bottled August 19, 2013.