Is this Syrah from Cornas or California? In most ways, this wine drinks like it hail from that awesome Northern Rhone cru. Yet, here we are in Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek Valley (DCV) to be precise. DCV is best known for producing great Zinfandel, but this bottling shows the region’s true potential.
Dry farmed above the spot where the Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys merge, it is one of the coolest spots in Sonoma, and the nights are downright frosty. This combination of long California days and cold nights is exactly what Syrah needs to overcome its habit of turning too fruity and peppery in warmer climates.
Winemaking is an ancient school: fermented in open vats, aged for nearly 2 years in old French oak barrels, and then aged for another two years in bottle. This particular bottle is sourced from one of the vineyard’s best parcels, Block 9, which is planted to the Syrah clone 877. Clones? Yeah, that ones for my students in the Advanced Sommelier program.
Anyways, rich and coarse tannins are smoothed out with a concentrated body of anise and wood resin. Dark fruits and burnt sage in the mid-palate evolve to bacon fat and a whiff of chocolate and toffee. This bottle is punching well above its weight.