Seven hillside acres are planted to Syrah on the 400-acre Smith family home estate in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Richard and Jason Smith planted the vines in 1994, and 1996 is the first vintage to be produced. The vertically trained, double row terraces face south, protected from the wind. The vines benefit from the shelter and the heat which radiates off the hillside to achieve optimal ripeness and expression of varietal Syrah character.
The growing season had consistently mild temperatures with little fog and less than usual of our 'Salinas Valley Wind'. The winter was wet with an unusual frost in early March and an early bloom beginning in April. Bloom weather was warm and kind. This, coupled with consistent 80º days through the growing season, contributed to record tonnage and flawless fruit.
The grapes were cold soaked for 24 hours in small open-top fermenters before being inoculated. The must was then hand punched 3 to 4 times daily throughout the fermentation process. The wine was pressed and transferred to a selection of oak barrels where it aged for 10 months. The Paraiso Springs Vineyards Syrah exhibits the saturated red-violet hue traditional for Syrah. Aromas of raspberry and cranberry are set off by vanilla and spice. The bright fruit and creamy oak carry through to the smooth finish, where hints of strawberry and violet linger.
Total Production: 700 cases