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Paraiso Vineyards Syrah 2000
The rugged Santa Lucia Mountains frame Monterey County’s fertile Salinas Valley on the west, separating it from the Pacific Ocean. The famed Santa Lucia Highlands appellation encompasses a series of small alluvial terraces on the lower slopes of the range – perfect for boutique growers of world-class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. The vines of this unique hillside district enjoy cooling ocean breezes and fog from nearby Monterey Bay. The resulting slow, gentle ripening contributes to California’s longest “hang time” – creating exceptional intensity, complexity, and balance in the grapes. Planted in 1973, the sixteen small vineyard plots of Paraiso Springs occupy unique microclimatic niches on the 400-acre estate. With varying elevations and soils, each plot boasts its own terroir, its own special sense of place…
The Smith Family has earned its reputation through constant experimentation and innovation, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Combining time-honored techniques with these latest advances, Rich and Claudia’s son-in-law, winemaker David Fleming, practices his art – hands-on, barrel-by-barrel. The limited release wines of P.S.V. are among the most awarded in the state, eagerly sought after by collectors across the country…
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.
Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.
Marked by unmistakable aromatics, a savory palate, and an elegant texture, Syrah is capable of producing fascinatingly complex and long-lived wines with a stunning purple hue. Native to the Northern Rhône, Syrah’s best examples are found in Hermitage and Côte-Rôtie. It is also an important component of the GSM blends of the Southern Rhône and beyond, alongside Grenache and Mourvèdre. Both varietal Syrah and GSM blends are common in Australia and California and are gaining popularity in Washington State. In Australia, Syrah is known by the synonym Shiraz, which tends to indicate a bolder, fruit-driven style of wine, and is occasionally blended with Cabernet Sauvignon for added depth and structure.
In the Glass
At its best, Syrah shows aromas and flavors of purple fruits, fragrant violets, baking spice, white pepper, smoke, and even bacon fat. Many examples from California aim to recreate this savory style, while others focus more on concentrated fruit flavors. In Australia, under the name Shiraz, it shines as that country’s unofficial signature red grape, producing deep, dark, intense, and often jammy reds.
Cool-climate Syrah, with its peppery spices, is a natural match with flavorful Moroccan-spiced lamb dishes, where the spice is more about flavor than heat. With Australian Shiraz, grown in warmer regions, heavy meat dishes with abundant protein and fat are a necessity to match the intensity of the wine.
Due to the success of Australian “Shiraz,” this synonym for Syrah has been adopted by winemakers throughout the world. If the label says “Shiraz,” you can typically expect a plush, fruity, and potent wine made in the Australian style. New World "Syrah" will generally more closely resemble the French style.