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This Syrah blows me away. And it should, the fruit that made this wine comes from one of the most overlooked and historic vineyards California has to offer, the DeRose Vineyard. With the age of some of it’s vines dating back to the late 1800s and the fact that the San Andreas fault runs right through the property, this vineyard is loaded with character. The site is located in a forgotten region full of California wine history called the Cienega Valley. It is an area located roughly 35 miles east of Monterrey and sits on a bed of granite and limestone(very rare for California.) All their blocks are dry-farmed. Meaning no irrigation(also very rare for California.) And when I say “Dry farmed” and “No irrigation” I mean their vines see absolutely no water other than what mother nature sees fit. Which can of course bite you in the ass specially when California is in it’s current drought, but the fruit that comes from this vineyard is so special and so distinct, I am madly in love with it.
As far as the winemaking goes we did this one with about 15% whole cluster(meaning the stems of the grapes were left to ferment with the berries.) I love the spicy notes you get in the wine from doing this practice and it just adds one more dimension to the wine. The great thing about the Cienega Valley (bare with me here cause every goddamn wine region says the same thing, the difference is that this is one of the wines where you can actually taste it.) is that it exists in an area that gets ample sunshine for ripping yet thanks to it’s proximity to the Monterrey bay (just on the other side of the Gabilan Mountains) it is temperate and cool. Also because of the pitiful 15 inches of rain a year they have a fantastically long growing season.
Now what all that shit means is that the fruit can get really rip and flavorful due to the warmth of the sun and the time it can stay on the vine. Because of the cooler air from the Monterrey bay that creeps over the mountains the fruit is also able to retain its acidity, one of the first things to burn off in hotter climates. The acid acts as a great balancing tool for the wine. It keeps it from being too flabby or jammy. It gives it life and freshness. It also is the key ingredient to the age-ability of the wine and I think this puppy is going to be able to hangout for many years to come.
Like all our wines we just let the wine do it’s thing. Which means we never inoculate with any commercial yeast or put any kind of additives to the wine except for extremely minuscule amounts of SO2 to protect it. This wine was aged for 12 months in neutral french oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered.