Cattleya Wines The Initiation Syrah 2019
A mysterious inky purple in the glass, this bold Syrah is slow to reveal itself, but as it does, notes of cassis, orange zest and cranberry create a powerful mélange of aromas. The wine maintains a delicate tension, balancing flavors of blackberry, graphite, and Asian spice with precise tannin and laser focused acidity.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Winemaker Bibiana González Rave started her Cattleya winery over a decade ago with one barrel of Syrah—the variety she also worked with in the Rhône Valley—from a single vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The fruit for this wine hails from the famed Soberanes Vineyard, farmed by the Pisoni and Franscioni families—and what a sumptuous mouthfeel it provides. Lilac and roses are arranged with graphite and red plum for true depth of character. Tinged with acidity, candied grapefruit converges on the mid-palate with blackberry and hints of cured meats and black pepper.
Tasted blind, this wine impressed as Syrah in Pinot Noir clothing. It is refined to the point of giving up a great deal of Syrah’s bold potential and relies instead on a brighter sense of balance along with an almost silky feel to go with its youthful energy. Still, there is good depth to its straightforward, pristinely captured blackberry fruitiness, and it can age a half-decade given its lively nature and continuity across the palate.
In her words: Since my early teenage years, my dream has been to make wine.
At a very young age I was fortunate enough to begin learning how to make wine in France. I trained myself while working with some amazing winemakers who showed me the importance of loving the land, how to respect the farming itself, and to focus on the many details that go into making each drop of wine in each and every bottle.
While studying in Bordeaux and Cognac I learned the required viticulture, enology and microbiology (“wine science”); but most importantly, I was also exposed to the many rituals involved in winemaking–things like pruning, harvesting and bottling–that feel so special and meaningful each season. I told myself that one day a bottle of wine would be infused with the longings of my soul through fruit produced from a specific terroir that spoke to my heart. That place I have found.
Perhaps the most highly regarded appellation within Monterey County, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA benefits from a combination of warm morning sunshine and brisk afternoon breezes, allowing grapes to ripen slowly and fully. The result is concentrated, flavorful wines that retain their natural acidity. Wineries here do not shy away from innovation, and place a high priority on sustainable viticultural practices.
The climatic conditions here are perfectly suited to the production of ripe, rich Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These Burgundian varieties dominate an overwhelming percentage of plantings, though growers have also found success with Syrah, Riesling and Pinot Gris.
Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah makes an intense, powerful and often age-worthy red. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah achieves its maximum potential in the steep village of Hermitage and plays an important component in the Red Rhône Blends of the south, adding color and structure to Grenache and Mourvèdre. Syrah is the most widely planted grape of Australia and is important in California and Washington. Sommelier Secret—Such a synergy these three create together, the Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre trio often takes on the shorthand term, “GSM.”