Neyers Syrah Cuvee D'Honneur 2005
Syrah/Shiraz from Carneros, California
Given the historically high interest in 'natural' products of all types, it's no surprise that wines made with lower than normal levels of sulphites would begin to develop a following. This is especially true in France, where a handful of talented young winemakers are producing some of the most exciting wines in their appellations by taking a 'non-intervention' approach to winemaking. It's a high stakes gamble that requires enormous attention to detail, along with a fresh approach to traditional cellar practices. One of the acknowledged leaders of the movement is Thierry Allemand of Cornas, whose 'Cuvée Spécial' Cornas is thought to be the benchmark example of Northern Rhône Syrah. Allemand has kindly shared his winemaking ideas with us over the years, encouraging us to try these techniques with our Syrah. We have recognized his role by naming the resulting wine 'Cuvée d'Honneur'. In 2005, our Cuvée d'Honneur Syrah took a dramatic step forward in both complexity and intensity. The production remains small, by necessity -- less than 10 barrels. The aroma is a striking combination of multiple spices, with earthy tones of bacon fat and leather. The real charm, though, is the underlying fruit. Big, grapey and supple, this wine is a textbook example of the heights reachable with old world technique and new world fruit.
The Wine Advocate - "The beautiful 2005 Syrah Cuvee d'Honneur boasts a deep, dense ruby/purple color to the rim as well as a rich, sumptuous perfume of charcoal, graphite, blackberries, pepper, flowers, and roasted meats. A beautiful texture, medium to full body, good underlying acidity, and admirable freshness and purity suggest it will provide immense pleasure over the next 7-8 years. Range: 90-92"
International Wine Cellar - "Good medium red. Restrained but nuanced aromas of raspberry, smoked meat and woodsmoke, with a sweet peppery element. Juicy, spicy and densely packed, showing more lift than the "regular" bottling from Hudson Vineyards. Not at all a weighty style, but peppery, smoky and quite complex. The inclusion of the stems contributes to the wine's spice character and firm tannic spine. The pH here, notes winemaker Ehren Jordan, is 4.1, but the wine has no shortage of energy."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "If not as heavy and dramatically sized as past Neyers' efforts, this very keenly focused wine combines clear varietal spice and gamy notes in aromas that are nicely supported by well-proportioned blackberry and spice notes. It is fairly full and supple in its early palatal impacts and sports good balance from front to back, and it keeps its tannins comfortably in check while still showing the strength of structure for aging."
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Begun in 1992 by Bruce and Barbara Neyers and their winemaking partner, Ehren Jordan, Neyers Vineyards produces 15,000 cases of wine annually. They rely primarily on Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the Neyers' 50-acre Conn Valley ranch farmed by Hugo and Lupe Maldonado. Additioanl grapes are purchased from a select group of growers, several of which are identified on the labels of wines produced from grapes they have grown. In 1999 Neyers purchased the 30-acre Sage Canyon Winery in the foothills east of Rutherford and have developed that facility for their entire production that also includes Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. View all Neyers Wines
About CarnerosView a map of Carneros wineries
Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Notable FactsBoth Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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