2011 Spicerack Vineyards Syrah

2011 Spicerack Vineyards Syrah "Punchdown", Sonoma County

EXCELLENT! - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Superb, cool climate sites on Sonoma County bring intensity of aromas and nuanced flavors in this Syrah.

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  • Spicerack Syrah wineSuperb, cool climate sites on Sonoma Coast bring intensity of aromas and nyanced flavors
  • Careful harvest and winemaking decisions showcase varietal intensity and regional specificity
  • Cool vintage provides refreshing balance of flavor and alcohol

Wine Specs

Vintage 2011
Varietal Syrah
Appellation Sonoma
pH 3.56
Alcohol % 12.4%

Wine Profile

Vineyard Notes Our 2011 “Punchdown” Syrah comes from vineyards in the Sonoma Coast and Sonoma County appellations. The cooler site along the coast brought delightful white pepper aromatics and zip, while we added complexity and depth with fruit from a rugged, warmer, Mayacamas Mountains site east of Santa Rosa. Both sites were hand-pruned, picked and sorted.
Production Notes These Syrah bunches were hand-harvested on October 1 and 17 (just before - and then after the rains) hand-sorted, destemmed & crushed (5% whole berry) and “cold soaked” for four days in open-top temperature-controlled fermenters. Warm fermentation temperature (85°) moved fermentation along and multiple “punchdowns” kept the cap well immersed in its delicious must. On Day 9 the still-fermenting must was gently pressed into seasoned French oak barriques where it completed primary and secondary fermentations. The press fractions were high (about 10% because we want to avoid the bitter seed tannins) were kept separate and ultimately not used. French barrel coopers were top quality, but only 10% new. Fourteen months barrel maturation was supplemented with two rackings which developed its wonderfully smooth but subtle mouth-feel. Our final assemblage was bottled in early 2013. We call our Spicerack Syrah “Punchdown” to reflect the many times the fermenting cap was “punched down” during fermentation. Medium ruby-red and enjoyable now, it displays the varietal typicity of fine cool climate syrah with nuances of northern Rhône-esque white pepper. We call our Spicerack Syrah "Punchdown" to reflect the many times the fermenting cap was "punched down" during fermentation. Jet-black and enjoyable now, it displays the varietal typicity of great cool climate California Syrah with nuances of Rhône-esque white pepper. Under proper cellar conditions it should improve for several years.
Winemaker Notes 2011 weather was much colder than normal and threw growers several curveballs. Unusually cool summer weather swept across the coast, and rains played with our patience in early October. Yields were therefore lower, and harvest came in at lower sugars. Selection and rigor was critical, and while Vintage 2011 was a challenge, it was nothing like the “challenging” vintages we have seen in northern Europe. The resultant wine shows delightful brightness and lift, with superb aromatics, all in a very balanced style.
Production 15 barrels
Other Notes 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier

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