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Bonterra Organically Grown Syrah 2001
A long growing season, coupled with near-perfect weather patterns, set the stage for the 2001 vintage truly a great year for Bonterra Syrah. Because Syrah typically enjoys a later bud break, the vines escaped damage from a severe early April frost. A warm spring ensued, pushing the vines into a rapid growth cycle through May. Cooler temperatures prevailed during the summer, allowing the fruit to develop intense flavors and color while maturing slowly on the vine. Random heat spikes in September and October enabled the fruit to ripen to perfection. The result: a magnificent, silky, rich 2001 Bonterra Syrah.
NOTES FROM WINEMAKER ROBERT BLUE
The grapes were hand-harvested at optimum maturity, then crushed and fermented in a combination of one-ton, open-top bins and stainless steel fermenters specifically designed for red wine fermentation. The grapes were pressed at dryness and inoculated with malolactic bacteria to soften the mouthfeel. Juice was then racked into a combination of new and mature French oak barrels. When the wines finished malolactic fermentation, they were aged in the barrels for an additional 15 months. Rich fruit flavors of blackberry and juicy plums accented by ripe tannins dance with dark chocolate, vanilla and oak spice on the palate. The nose is beguiling, filled with aromatic dark fruits and nuances of white pepper spice. Like a classic Rhone, a small amount of Viognier lends a slight floral perfume.
FOOD RECOMMENDATIONS JOHN ASH - CHEF, AUTHOR, CULINARY DIRECTOR
Hearty is the watchword with this richly-textured, warmly-fruited wine. Game and smoked meats are obvious, but you might also bravely pair this with a warm spinach salad, loaded with crisp bacon and Feta cheese, and your favorite oil and vinegar dressing. Try this wine with braised and slow roasted meats, rotisserie and herbed chicken or cassoulet with smoked sausage. Aged hard cheeses like Reggiano Parmigiana, Granas aged Gouda, Pecorino and the like, are a nice accompaniment to this Syrah.
THE BONTERRA PHILOSOPHY
We honor the land by farming organically, creating rich soils that provide healthy vines the opportunity to deliver wonderfully flavorful fruit. With every sip of Bonterra wine, you can taste our natural commitment. There's no other way to fully capture the expression of our Mendocino terroir.
David Koball, Vineyard Manager
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.
Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.