Remember, this is cool clime Syrah planted on ancient schist soils in the remote Yorkville Highlands at 2500+ feet, and about 9 miles from the Pacific coast. “Severe” viticulture is at play here with harsh weather conditions (wind, fog, rain, intense sunshine) and great diurnal swings (hot days and cold nights!). The goal each vintage is to simply achieve adequate fruit ripeness and balance.
Oh my! Hermitage or Côte-Rôtie AOC?? No co-fermentation with any white Rhone varietals. At first opening, bright and clear ruby cloak. Crushed understated red fruits, light roasted coffee bean, tanned suede leather, and lovely floral aromas are all interwoven in this inviting and compelling nose which continues to express the same complexity on the palate. Grown up and restrained, savory Syrah! Firm, lingering tannin and fresh acidity will allow for development. Highly recommend. Price is an absolute bargain.
Ten hours later, the once red red fruits have darkened to black raspberry. The coffee bean and leather are now more loam-minerality, and pepper and scorched notes. There is a growing tension expressed by the expanding tannin and tight rope of acidity. Indeed, there has been a metamorphosis to a more serious wine with greater potential for aging and evolution.
This is Paul Gordon’s second vintage of this very special cuvee. The wine is again 100% Chave selection Syrah fermented with 100% whole-cluster and aged in neutral French oak puncheon. Native yeasts were again used for the spontaneous fermentation. There were no adjustments to alcohol nor acids. 185 cases. Unfined and unfiltered. 12.8% alcohol.
American wine critic John Gilman’s “View from the Cellar“, “One of the rising stars of American wine… offers up a superb aromatic constellation of cassis, blackraspberries, bonfire, dark soil tones, black olive, pepper and hung game. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and soil-driven, with a full-bodied format, rock solid core, great backend mineral drive and a long, tangy, ripely tannic and complex finish. This may well be America’s finest bottling of syrah! 2029-2070. 94.”