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Sonoma Coast Vineyards Syrah 2003

Syrah/Shiraz from Sonoma County, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    Each of the vineyards provides characteristics to the final blend that synergistically meld to create a complexity, depth, and richness that is unusual for Syrah. The most unique aspect of this Syrah is the complexity.The Hummingbird Hill fruit provides the ripe blackberry and viscous mouth feel while the Clary fruit provides white pepper, finesse and a blueberry component. Elements of this wine remind us clearly of the wines from the cold Northern Rhone Region of France. Yet it has a fullness and elegance that says California. This duplicity is what makes wines from the Sonoma Coast so unique.

    Critical Acclaim

    Sonoma Coast Vineyards

    Sonoma Coast Vineyards

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    Sonoma Coast Vineyards, , California
    Sonoma Coast Vineyards
    Sonoma Coast Vineyards produces handcrafted wines from the Extreme Sonoma Coast, a unique cold-climate growing area west of the Russian River Valley, a mere five miles from the Pacific Ocean, on the far western reaches of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. The potential for this region to produce wines of exceptional depth and complexity inspired founders John and Barbara Drady to join forces with acclaimed winemaker Anthony Austin and introduce their first vintage in 2002. Low yields of mature fruit with high levels of natural acidity, intense flavors and remarkable complexity result from the long, cool growing season, where harvests may extend into early November.

    Languedoc-Roussillon

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    An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality, value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Provence. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.

    Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Picpoul, and Bourbelenc. International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls, and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.

    Rhône Blends

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    With bold fruit flavors and accents of spice, Rhône red blends originated in France’s Southern Rhône valley and have become popular in Priorat, Washington, South Australia, and California’s Central Coast. In the Rhône itself, 19 grape varieties are permitted for use, but many of these blends, are based on Grenache and supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre, earning the nickname “GSM blends.” Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape are perhaps the best-known outposts for these wines. Other varieties that may be found in Rhône blends include Carignan, Cinsault, and Counoise.

    In the Glass

    The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache, which often forms the base of these blends, is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit, a plush texture, and often high levels of alcohol. Syrah supplies darker fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy, and meaty notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume as well as body, tannin, and a healthy dose of color. New World examples will lie further along the fruit-forward end of the spectrum, while those from the Old World taste and smell much earthier, often with a “barnyard” character that is attractive to many fans of these wines.

    Perfect Pairings

    Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. Depending on the weight and alcohol level, these can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes—they play equally well with beef, pork, duck, lamb, or game. With their high acidity, these wines are best-matched with salty or fatty foods, and can handle the acidity of tomato sauce in pizza or pasta. Braised beef cheeks, grilled lamb sausages, or roasted squab are all fine pairings.

    Sommelier Secret

    Some regions like to put their own local spin on the Rhône red blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin, and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or even Tempranillo make an appearance.

    YNG175521_2003 Item# 94371

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