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HdV Californio Syrah 2012
The name Californio pays tribute to the early California settlers, or Californios, those of Spanish heritage who tamed the wilds of the frontier. As descendants of the early Californios, the Hyde and de Villaine families strive to present a Syrah that highlights one of California’s premier growing sites, Hyde Vineyard, while embodying the elegance of the Old World.
The founders of HdV believe terroir is not only the interaction of the various natural components within an ecosystem but also the human contribution within that ecosystem. Due to this human component, vignerons, to an extent, help create the terroir. It takes decades, if not generations, of knowledge to understand a terroir – to properly respect it and be true to it (best row directions, varietals, selections of a varietal, etc.). It is this respect of the terroir that allows HdV to make fine wines.
Completed just before the 2003 vintage harvest, the HdV winery was designed and developed to accomodate every aspect of HdV's philosophy. HdV strongly believes in the gentlest handling of the grapes and minimal intervention in order to let the wines develop the characteristics that are true to the vineyard terroir. The fruit goes through meticulous sorting – during harvest by the pickers and after harvest on the table at the winery – so that only the finest grapes remain to make the wine.
Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. The cooling winds from the abutting San Pablo Bay, combined with lots of midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing wines with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.
Marked by 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.
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.
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.