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Carica Kick Ranch Syrah 2006

Syrah/Shiraz from Sonoma County, California
  • WS93
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Winemaker Notes

This single-vineyard cool climate Syrah is rich and intense. It exhibits vibrant flavors of blackberry and black cherry fruits, followed by notes of roasted meat and bacon fat characteristic of the Northern Rhone's finest wines. Spicy and complex, Carica's Kick Ranch Syrah has a velvety deep persistent finish with accents of pepper and dark chocolate and smoke. Abundant soft tannins make this wine approachable early but also predict substantial aging potential.

This is a wine of balance, sophistication and finesse, which, although delicious by itself, will be an elegant accompaniment to fine cuisine. Consider pairing it with lamb shanks, osso bucco, roasted or grilled meats, game or rich stews.

Critical Acclaim

WS 93
Wine Spectator

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Carica, , California
Carica Wines is a new winery started in 2005 by two friends, Charlie Dollbaum and Dick Keenan, to produce wines of extraordinary character from small lots of premium Sonoma County wine grapes. Dick has supplied the grapes, and Charlie his winemaking skills, for our first bottling –a 2005 Sauvignon Blanc.

Our winery takes its name from the hardy fig trees (botanical name, Ficus carica) that accent the source of our wine grapes, Kick Ranch vineyard. Carica's fig leaf insignia is inspired by these trees, too. Kick Ranch vineyard is owned and planted by Dick Keenan and Kathy McNamara. Located in Sonoma's Rincon Valley, Kick Ranch is on the western side of the northern flank of Spring Mountain, which separates Sonoma and Napa Counties. The vineyard is sited on an alluvial bench having soil with an amazing mix of volcanic and other rock that contributes a rich minerality to wines. The vineyard is laid out for perfect sun exposure and has a 20 mile vista down to the Petaluma Wind Gap, providing cool nights and foggy mornings, ideal conditions for growing premium wine grapes. Dick's commitment to provide Carica Wines with ultra premium fruit is backed by sustainable farming practices with a focus on healthy, balanced vines, tended by one of Sonoma County's premier vineyard managers. Kick Ranch grapes are now sought after by several other premium wineries.

The saying that great wine is made in a vineyard really only tells half the story. Charlie took his years of private wine making to a new level with Carica Wines. Winemaking’s marriage of art and science comes naturally to Charlie, who originally trained in the biological sciences at UC Davis, and then turned his decades of experience in medical research and biotech laboratory science to enology. Beginning with the 2005 crush on September 23, he has directed every step of Carica's winemaking process.

A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines...

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A long and narrow valley producing flavorful red, white, and pink wines, the Rhône is bisected by the river of the same name and split into two distinct sub-regions—north and south. While a handful of grape varieties span the entire length of the valley, there are significant differences between the two zones in climate and geography as well as the style and quantity of wines produced. The Northern Rhône, with its continental climate and steep hillside vineyards, is responsible for a mere 5% or less of the greater region’s total output. The Southern Rhône has a much more Mediterranean climate, the aggressive, chilly Mistral wind, and plentiful fragrant wild herbs known collectively as ‘garrigue.’

In the Northern Rhône, the only permitted red variety is Syrah. In the appellations of St.-Joseph, Hermitage, Cornas, and Côte-Rôtie (where up to 20% Viognier may be co-fermented), it produces savory, peppery wines with telltale notes of olive, bacon fat, and smoke. Oily, perfumed whites are made from Viognier in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, while elsewhere only Marsanne and Roussanne are used, with the former providing body and texture and the latter lending nervy acidity. The wines of the Southern Rhône are typically blends, with the reds often based on Grenache and balanced by Syrah, Mourvèdre, and an assortment of other varieties. All three northern white varieties are used here, as well as Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Bourbelenc, and more. The best known sub-regions of the Southern Rhône are the reliable, wallet-friendly Côtes du Rhône and the esteemed Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Others include Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and rosé-only appellation Tavel.

Rhône White Blends

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Difficult to generalize but often relatively full-bodied and flavorful...

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Difficult to generalize but often relatively full-bodied and flavorful, Rhône white blends are made in France’s Rhone Valley and beyond, proving most successful in Spain, Australia, South America, and California’s Central Coast. They are made from a combination of two or more of the white varieties permitted in the Rhône, potentially including Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.

In the Glass

Each variety brings something different to the table. Round, textural Grenache Blanc contributes green apple and white stone fruit flavors; weighty Marsanne adds structure and delicate honeysuckle aromas; russet-colored Roussanne lends intriguing herbal, tea-like notes, and Viognier provides an oily texture and an elegant floral perfume. The flavor of the final wine will depend on the chosen components of the blend and their respective proportions.

Perfect Pairings

Since Rhône white blends tend to be fairly full-bodied, they can be quite versatile food pairing wines and can work with light to medium rich meals that might normally be matched with reds. Meatier fish dishes with bold seasoning like grilled swordfish with caper butter or baked, herb-crusted mahi mahi are natural allies for these flavorful wines. Other ideal dishes include roast pork in mustard sauce, poached lobster with beurre blanc, or a rich and savory vegetable quiche. `

Sommelier Secret

In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are most common, in the appellations of St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and St-Péray (in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, whites are made from Viognier only). The Southern Rhône, on the other hand, has much more variety, with many more permitted grapes including Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul Blanc, and Ugni Blanc.

CIASY062_2006 Item# 96716

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