Jeff Cohn Cellars Haley's Reserve Rockpile Syrah 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
All JC Cellars wines are fermented in open top fermenting vessels that range in size from a half ton to eight tons, where each bin is hand punched down five times per day. This time-consuming procedure allows maximum exposure of skins to juice, intensifying the flavor of the fruit while handling it as gently as possible.
High elevation vineyards—800 to 2,100 feet—on well-drained soils of red and brown clay loam, gravel and large rock outcroppings produce low yields of intense, high-quality fruit. Surrounded by Northern Sonoma County and overlapping Dry Creek Valley in its northwest corner, the Rockpile AVA produces some of California most powerful Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon based wines.
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.
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.