Westwood Winery Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Syrah 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
An estate wine that's 100% varietal, this is thick and unrelenting in concentration, with blackberry, black licorice, leather and smoky oak pleading for attention in equal measure. Rough and tumble power and intensity rule the day, with seasonings of coffee and cinnamon.
Westwood Estate features wines sourced primarily from the Biodynamically certified Annadel Gap Vineyard in Sonoma Valley that serves as the heart of Westwood Estate. The vineyard has also achieved organic certification from Oregon based Stellar Certification Services. First planted in the northernmost part of Sonoma Valley in three stages between 2001 and 2009, the 22 planted acres feature carefully focused blocks of nine clones of Pinot Noir, four clones of Syrah, and micro-blocks of Counoise, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tannat, Roussanne and Viognier.
Annadel Gap Vineyard allows Westwood to craft limited release artisan Pinot Noir and Rhône varietals, including Westwood Legend, a Rhône styled blend.
The former dairy farm studded with Black Walnut groves features a gently sloping profile ranging from 410 to 530 feet, with four distinct soil zones of various loams resembling the famed Gold Ridge soils more common to Western Sonoma County. The vineyard is cooler than most in the northern reaches of Sonoma Valley, more closely resembling vineyards founded further west in the Petaluma Gap.
The organic farming and Biodynamic™ practices at Annadel include the extensive use of beneficial insects, compost and cover crops and the application of materials at times that are directed by principles developed by Austrian scientist Rudolph Steiner early in the 20th century.
Perhaps the most historically significant appellation in Sonoma County, the Sonoma Valley is home to both Buena Vista winery, California's oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California's oldest family-run winery.
It is also one of the more geologically and climactically diverse districts. The valley includes and overlaps four distinct Sonoma County sub-appellations, including Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley. With mountains, benchlands, plains, abundant sunshine and the cooling effects of the nearby Pacific, this appellation can successfully produce a wide range of grape varieties. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and most notably, Zinfandel all thrive here. Ancient Zinfandel vines over 100 years old produce small crops of concentrated, spicy fruit, which in turn make some of the Valley's most unique wines. These can also be made as “field blends” (wines made from a mix of grape varieties grown in the same vineyard) along with Petite Sirah, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet.
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.