Sonoma Coast Vineyards Syrah 2004

Winemaker's Notes:

Our 2004 Syrah from the "extreme Sonoma Coast" was affected by an intense lateseason warm spell. Spring and summer were fairly typical, but in early September a major heat wave covered all of northern California and dramatically accelerated fruit development. We benefited greatly from our proximity to the cooling Pacific Ocean. Temperatures throughout the Russian River Valley were hitting 100°-110°F for days in succession. Temperatures on the Sonoma Coast were in the upper 80's, fortunately not hot enough to be damaging, instead giving delicious riper fruit characteristics that combined nicely with our normally high acid profiles. While the region has built its reputation upon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Syrah holds great promise, but at high risk. This is without a doubt the coldest region in all of California in which Syrah is being grown. The result is a completely different of wine than can ever be created from vineyards in the traditional, warmer areas that have become the reference for Syrah. The fruit was picked in the early daylight hours, entered the winery in a cold state, was de-stemmed into small one-ton fermentors and combined with 20% whole clusters. To harmonize the various components, the wines were given a prolonged five-day cold soak at 48°F which extracts a broad spectrum of flavor components without creating alcoholic extraction of excess tannin. Fermentation was started with the wild yeast then inoculated with Assmanhausen yeast strain. The separate vineyard lots were hand punched 2-3 times daily and then pressed, after which they were blended into 50% new French oak, with the balance in seasoned French oak, to undergo malolactic fermentation. The yeast lees was stirred every 10 days to effect a mild protein fining and to liberate yeast nutrients. The wines were racked off the lees in April 2005 and returned to barrel for another 14 months. They were blended, lightly fined with fresh egg whites prior to bottling, then given a much-deserved 9 months of bottle aging. Tasting Notes: Two vineyards give distinctive characteristics to the final blend that synergistically meld into a complexity, depth, and richness that is unusual for Syrah. Hummingbird Hill fruit provides ripe blackberry flavor and a viscous mouth feel, while Clary Ranch Vineyard fruit provides low pH (3.39), white pepper, a blueberry component and overall finesse. Elements of this wine remind us of the cold northern Rhône region of France, yet it has a fullness and elegance that says California. This duplicity is what makes wines from the Sonoma Coast so unique. Anthony Austin, Winemaker February 12, 2007 Our Syrah fruit comes from two unique vineyards: Clary Ranch Vineyard sits in a natural wind channel between the very cold Tomales Bay on the Sonoma Coast and the Two Rock area south of Freestone. Hummingbird Hill Vineyards sit further east at a much higher elevation. Our stylistic goal was to showcase the characteristics of long hang time combined with high natural malic acid in three clones: Clone 1 Syrah from Hummingbird Hill was harvested on September 19, followed by clone 877 on October 1; Clary Ranch's clone 174 was harvested on October 7. Months in barrel: 20 months Oak: 50% new French oak

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Color: Red
Varietal: Syrah
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Sonoma Coast Vineyards:
Sonoma Coast Vineyards produces handcrafted wines exclusively from the Sonoma Coast appellation - wines of exceptional quality and character that will be recognized as the highest representation of excellence. Focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a small production of cold climate Syrah, Sonoma Coast Vineyards makes wines that embody the qualities and character that have shown the Sonoma... Read more
Sonoma Coast Vineyards produces handcrafted wines exclusively from the Sonoma Coast appellation - wines of exceptional quality and character that will be recognized as the highest representation of excellence. Focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with a small production of cold climate Syrah, Sonoma Coast Vineyards makes wines that embody the qualities and character that have shown the Sonoma Coast appellation to be one of the great growing regions of the world for these varietals. Growing grapes in the dramatically cool western reaches of Sonoma County is complex and demanding - but truly worth the risk. The resulting fruit produces wines that are elegant and intensely structured. Wine writer Robert Parker identifies the Sonoma Coast appellation as "where world class Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are being made that are every bit as complex and complete as the greatest wines of France." (Savor Wine Country Magazine, Fall 2002) Under the direction of winemaker Anthony Austin, Sonoma Coast Vineyards wines display elegance, harmony, and balance. The 2002 vintage represented Anthony's 32nd harvest. Having studied under and assisted famed winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff, Anthony went on to become the founding winemaker at Firestone Vineyards. During his ten years at Firestone Vineyards, he helped to elevate the Santa Barbara region and Firestone Vineyards to new heights. Anthony's Austin Cellars wines won broad international acclaim and remain highly sought after collectibles. Anthony brings his vast knowledge and experience to Sonoma Coast Vineyards' mission of producing exceptional wines from the renowned Sonoma Coast appellation. By carefully selecting the vineyards and working closely with each grower, Anthony obtains ripe, balanced fruit from these climate-challenged vineyards. His love for his craft, and the character of the appellation, is reflected in every glass of wine he produces. Read less

Member Reviews for Sonoma Coast Vineyards Syrah

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Snooth User: wine evangelist
9523438
4.00 5
11/02/2008

Four glasses



Our 2004 Syrah from the "extreme Sonoma Coast" was affected by an intense lateseason warm spell. Spring and summer were fairly typical, but in early September a major heat wave covered all of northern California and dramatically accelerated fruit development. We benefited greatly from our proximity to the cooling Pacific Ocean. Temperatures throughout the Russian River Valley were hitting 100°-110°F for days in succession. Temperatures on the Sonoma Coast were in the upper 80's, fortunately not hot enough to be damaging, instead giving delicious riper fruit characteristics that combined nicely with our normally high acid profiles. While the region has built its reputation upon Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Syrah holds great promise, but at high risk. This is without a doubt the coldest region in all of California in which Syrah is being grown. The result is a completely different of wine than can ever be created from vineyards in the traditional, warmer areas that have become the reference for Syrah. The fruit was picked in the early daylight hours, entered the winery in a cold state, was de-stemmed into small one-ton fermentors and combined with 20% whole clusters. To harmonize the various components, the wines were given a prolonged five-day cold soak at 48°F which extracts a broad spectrum of flavor components without creating alcoholic extraction of excess tannin. Fermentation was started with the wild yeast then inoculated with Assmanhausen yeast strain. The separate vineyard lots were hand punched 2-3 times daily and then pressed, after which they were blended into 50% new French oak, with the balance in seasoned French oak, to undergo malolactic fermentation. The yeast lees was stirred every 10 days to effect a mild protein fining and to liberate yeast nutrients. The wines were racked off the lees in April 2005 and returned to barrel for another 14 months. They were blended, lightly fined with fresh egg whites prior to bottling, then given a much-deserved 9 months of bottle aging. Tasting Notes: Two vineyards give distinctive characteristics to the final blend that synergistically meld into a complexity, depth, and richness that is unusual for Syrah. Hummingbird Hill fruit provides ripe blackberry flavor and a viscous mouth feel, while Clary Ranch Vineyard fruit provides low pH (3.39), white pepper, a blueberry component and overall finesse. Elements of this wine remind us of the cold northern Rhône region of France, yet it has a fullness and elegance that says California. This duplicity is what makes wines from the Sonoma Coast so unique. Anthony Austin, Winemaker February 12, 2007 Our Syrah fruit comes from two unique vineyards: Clary Ranch Vineyard sits in a natural wind channel between the very cold Tomales Bay on the Sonoma Coast and the Two Rock area south of Freestone. Hummingbird Hill Vineyards sit further east at a much higher elevation. Our stylistic goal was to showcase the characteristics of long hang time combined with high natural malic acid in three clones: Clone 1 Syrah from Hummingbird Hill was harvested on September 19, followed by clone 877 on October 1; Clary Ranch's clone 174 was harvested on October 7. Months in barrel: 20 months Oak: 50% new French oak

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