For several years we produced a Syrah from two El Dorado County vineyards: Wylie, and Fenaughty. The two sites gave wines with complementary characteristics; Wylie’s beefiness, and power was tempered beautifully by the suppleness and perfume from Fenaughty’s cooler soils. Since the Wylie grapes are no longer ones we work with, I’ve longed for some Syrah from a site that might provide a comparable kind of contrast to Fenaughty. The Barsotti Ranch, which is our primary source of Gamay for red wine, is now also home to a block of Syrah. On Barsotti’s granite soils it seemed likely to provide what we were looking for, so in 2013 we took a run at it, and I like the results!
FRUIT SOURCES: Fenaughty Vineyard is situated at roughly 2800 feet elevation, on Carson Ridge, in the area above Placerville known as Apple Hill. The soil at Fenaughty is Aiken loam, rocky ground of volcanic origin. 2013 was the 26th year we’ve gotten fruit from Fenaughty. Barsotti Ranch is a couple miles east on North Canyon Road, from Fenaughty, and the vines are at comparably high elevation.
WINEMAKING NOTES: Picking took place on Labor Day, at both sites. Average Brix was 22.1, pH 3.44, and total acidity, .63.
Grapes were de-stemmed together, ferment was open-top, with 2-3 punchdowns daily. Pressed out dry mid-September, and transferred into 12-year old French barrels, to rest, undergo malo-lactic fermentation, and settle out. Racked from wood in late February of 2014, and bottled mid-Summer.
WINEMAKER’S TASTING NOTES: Quite dark purply-red. Deep nose showing violet notes, and smoke, a bit of blackberry-leaf, and a streak of iron. Medium-to-full body on the palate, with engaging texture, and good freshness. Flavors nicely balanced, and lengthy, but only showing a bit of what seems to be there, beneath a beautiful but very firm structure. Much to like, and good reason to wait for development in the cellar, for a few years.
TOTAL PRODUCTION: Roughly 225 cases.
RELEASE DATE: September 1, 2016.