The grapes for our Syrah come from vineyards in the cool-climate Carneros District at the southern tip of Napa Valley, including a significant portion from our own Milton Road Vineyard. Milton Road contains five different clones of Syrah, including three originating in France’s northern Rhône Valley. Like the northern Rhône, Carneros features a cool, windy climate that promotes the intense, spicy aromas and flavors for which Syrah is universally celebrated.
In 2007, a dry, mild winter and spring led to early budbreak and bloom. The summer months were temperate, with few heat spikes, which allowed our Carneros Syrah grapes to develop concentrated flavors while retaining bright acidity. Warm weather in early September accelerated ripening, which led to a fast-paced harvest of beautifully matured Syrah fruit between September 25th and October 6th.
We harvest each of our five Syrah clonal selections separately and ferment them in small open-top fermenters. In 2007, we retained 10% stems to foster more spice and tannin structure in the blend, a common practice in the Northern Rhône. During fermentation, we used daily manual punchdowns to thoroughly macerate the cap of skins and extract maximum color and flavor from the juice. Once fermentation completed, the wines were transferred to French oak barrels, 48% new, where they aged for eight months before being blended in May, 2008. The finished wine spent an additional seven months in barrel prior to bottling in December, 2008.
Our 2007 Carneros Syrah boasts a deep, saturated color and classic, cool-toned varietal aromas of ripe dark fruits (cassis, blackberry and boysenberry) augmented by scents of roasted earth, mocha, violets, black licorice and chaparral. On the full-bodied palate, the wine is awash in deep, mouthfilling, cassis and blackberry compote flavors, which glide into a long, rich finish dominated by dark roasted coffee, briary spice and toasty oak tones. While this sumptuous Syrah is delicious now with robust fare, its depth of fruit and firm, supple tannins suggest it will age beautifully in bottle for another 5-7 years.
Carneros, Napa Valley
September 25 through
October 6, 2006
small open-top and closed tanks
15 months new & seasoned French oak barrels