Our third vintage of producing Syrah finds us, as always, continually searching for better and better sources for our grapes. We added two new sources for Syrah grapes in 2000, the White Hawk Vineyard, planted on a south facing slope off of Cat Canyon Road just north of Los Alamos, and Gainey's Santa Rosa Vineyard located in the cool Santa Rita Hills viticultural appellation.
These wines were blended with the wines we made from our previous sources of Alisos Vineyard in Los Alamos, and French Camp Vineyard in Paso Robles. A small amount of Mourvedre from Stolpman Vineyard was also used in the blend.
The result is the most complex Syrah we have yet produced. The wine has a saturated, dark, slightly purple color. The nose displays a dense array of raspberry, floral, dusty pepper aromas with a hint of sweet oak vanillin. On the palate the wine is very rich in the entry, with a thick velvety texture and loads of sweet fruit. The tannins are very soft and the finish has a spicey, sweet oak character.
As a winemaker, I feel I have had to learn how to deal with Syrah, a grape I have found to be very different than other red grapes I have dealt with. Each year I feel I have gained another insight into how to best bring out the most of the grapes. Each year I feel our Syrah shows the increase in my understanding of the grapes.
I expect that this wine will continue to develop with another three to five years of bottle aging. Serve with hearty Provencal meats, stews or with a selection of fine cheeses.