When we began to work with Syrah from the Barsotti Ranch, it was my hope that the expression of Syrah from granite might provide a complement and counterpoint to the Syrah fruit grown at Fenaughty Ranch, a couple miles to the west, where the soil is a clay-loam, of volcanic origin. Fenaughty has always had a distinct personality that seemed to lean in the direction of perfume, and tenderness, at times maybe a little on the blowsy side. Just to get a clearer picture of what Barsotti might bring to the equation, I bottled an all-Barsotti Syrah from 2014, and was struck by its firmness, its mineral core, by what seemed its deep structural ferocity.
We’d blended the two in 2013, and the result was quite nice, but the choice of proportions had been somewhat arbitrary, an intuitive shot in the dark. In 2015 I felt like I had a better sense of how the combination might work best. The blend in 2015 is 65% from Fenaughty, and 35% from Barsotti.
Winemaking Notes There had been some frost at Fenaughty in the Spring of 2015 that left the vines with a lighter crop than usual; it ripened more quickly as a result, and I think the grapes we received were the best I’ve ever gotten from those vines. A little over two tons were picked on the 31st of August at Fenaughty, with modest sugar, very nice acidity, and good pH. Seveneen days later we got just over a ton from Barsotti, also in very fine condition, nicely ripe and very flavorful. All the fruit was de-stemmed into half ton bins to ferment, the skins punched down morning and evening as fermentation proceeded; at dryness the wines were transferred to small barrels that had held 14 previous vintages, and malolactic proceeded spontaneously, as always. After roughly three months on primary lees, the wines were racked to tank, blended, and returned to barrel until March of 2016, when they came out of wood, and remained in tank until June. We racked again in June, and bottled in August, 2016, on the 11th.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes The color is dark blue-red, typical for Syrah. Nose is fresh, and really savory; there’s some smoke, and a bit of the iron (from Barsotti), lovely floral and spicy notes from the Fenaughty portion (and greater precision as well). On the palate, flavors are similarly precise, structure is both firm and wonderfully elegant, tannins juicy and fine, gorgeous texture. Finish is quite long and simultaneously refreshing. Likely to develop for at least a few decades. As fine a Syrah as we’ve ever bottled.
Total production A bit under 200 cases. Price $35.00