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Red Car Estate Vineyard Syrah 2011

Syrah/Shiraz from Sonoma County, California
  • W&S93
  • WE92
12.7% ABV
  • W&S90
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12.7% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This Syrah shows itself texturally by moving from front to back of the mouth in a more linear fashion instead of around the outskirts of the mouth as liquid roundness. This Syrah maintains bright acidity throughout and has more in common with Burgundy than the Southern Rhone. Think Pinot Noir with pepper.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
Planted in 2005 on a ridge less than four miles from the Pacific, the Red Car estate is a cool spot to grow syrah, and the 2011 vintage was especially cold. Still, the vines managed to harness just enough sunshine to grow a bright, elegant wine from the vineyard’s sandstone-based soils. After four years in bottle, it’s in a lovely place, with a graceful, lively presence that’s seductive rather than impactful, its vivid aromas of bay leaf, cassis and green olive surprisingly persistent given its featherweight structure.
WE 92
Wine Enthusiast
A shock of white pepper remains memorable throughout this wine, which hails from a high-elevation vineyard overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Pinot Noir-like in its leanness and silky mouthfeel, it's prickly with feral jolts of cinnamon and tobacco.
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Red Car

Red Car Wine Company

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Red Car Wine Company, Sonoma County, California
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Red Car uses meticulous viticulture and transparent winemaking to craft wines with authentic character and originality. Combining old and new world techniques, we minimize manipulation so the fruit can faithfully express the cool climate personality of the Sonoma Coast.

Red Car was founded by Carroll Kemp and Mark Estrin in 2000 with 50 cases of Syrah from a single ton of grapes. Besides an enthusiasm for wine, they also shared a Hollywood background – Carroll as producer, Mark as screenwriter. Their intent was simple: source great grapes, make great wine and market it in an inventive, original way.

The winery name is a tribute to the electric trolley cars that ran throughout Los Angeles from the late 19th century through the early 1960’s. These "red cars" provided transportation in a romanticized time and place. We strive to make wines that are similarly memorable and transportive.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

Syrah/Shiraz

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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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

Sommelier Secret

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.

HNYRCRSYH11C_2011 Item# 140778