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Donelan Walker Vine Hill Syrah 2012

Syrah/Shiraz from Russian River, Sonoma County, California
  • RP92
750ML / 13.7% ABV
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750ML / 13.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The backbone of the 2012 Syrah is the original, 20-year old planting, providing vivid blueberry and focused structure. Other blocks strike distinct yet harmonious chords – a younger parcel with smaller clusters lends concentration; yet another adds spiced-plum, exotic in a Syrah. The result is a cuveé within a single vineyard, adorning a seductive Syrah in a sophisticated veil.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The single-vineyard Syrah, the 2012 Syrah Walker Vine Hill comes from the heart of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay country in Russian River, just up the street from the Kistler and Dehlinger wineries. Relatively modest in alcohol by certain California Syrah standards (13.7%), it was aged 20 months in 23% new French Oak. The wine, which they’ve been producing since 2001, has a deep ruby purple color, a big sweet kiss of roasted meats, herbs, pepper and spice, blackberry fruit that unfolds gracefully in a full-bodied but elegant, stylish nose, with a hint of pepper and spice box. The last vintage will be 2013, as they will no longer have access to this vineyard. This wine should drink well for 10-15 years.
Rating: 92+
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Donelan
Donelan, California
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Donelan is a small, boutique winery in Sonoma County producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, and Roussanne. They have elected to prize quality over all other factors. Simply put, they think wine should taste great – with every vintage and every grape, this is their ultimate priority and greatest motivation.

At Donelan, they believe that the best wines are not made but discovered and they take pride in the responsibility and privilege of distilling for your pleasure the greatest qualities and natural variations in a vineyard and a variety. They start with great terroir, because site trumps all variables, and then proceed with extreme selectivity, conscientious winemaking, and extensive blending trials.

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Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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Syrah/Shiraz

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Marked by an unmistakable deep purple hue and savory aromatics, Syrah accounts for a good deal of some of the most intense, powerful and age-worthy reds in the world. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah still achieves some of its maximum potential here, especially from Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie.

Syrah also plays an important component in the canonical Southern Rhône blends based on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, adding color, depth, complexity and structure to the mix. Today these blends have become well-appreciated from key appellations of the New World, namely Australia, California and increasingly, with praise, from Washington.

In the Glass

Syrah typically shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper and even bacon, smoke or black olive. In Australia, where it goes under the name Shiraz, it produces deep, dark, intense and often, jammy reds. While Northern Rhône examples are typically less fruity and more earthy, California appears increasingly capable of either style.

Perfect Pairings

Flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb, grilled meats, spareribs and hard, aged cheeses are perfect with Syrah. Blue cheeses are perfect with a dense and fruit-driven Australian Shiraz.

Sommelier Secret

Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” winemakers throughout the world have adopted this synonym for Syrah when they have produced a plush and fruit forward wine made in the Australian style. As an aside, Australians are also fond of tempering their fruit-forward Shiraz by blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, which adds depth and structure.

MRW403170_2012 Item# 403170