Four Cairn Syrah 2009
The Mitchell Family has grown grapes on this site continuously for over 35 years. In the early 1950's (1952 - 1954) the vineyard was first established under the direction of Andre Tchelistcheff. The vineyard was replanted to Syrah in 1992, specifically the Estrella clone, which was brought from France by Joseph Phelps in the late 70's. Most years the vineyard does not produce more than two tons to the acre and if more, the fruit is dropped to that level. The fruit ripens earlier than most valley floor Syrah, likely due to a number of causes-very fast-draining soil conditions, minimal irrigation, the clone, rootstock, and the full solar exposure (no shade). The vineyard produces medium to small berries, somewhat loose medium-sized clusters, fairly thick skins, and exhibits very dark color extraction.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.