2011 Spicerack Vineyards Syrah "Punchdown", Sonoma County

  • Spicerack Syrah wineSuperb, cool climate sites in Sonoma County bring intensity of aromas and nuanced flavors
  • Careful harvest and winemaking decisions showcase varietal intensity and regional specificity
  • Cool vintage provides refreshing blanace of flavor and alcohol

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Price: $25 per bottle

Shipping and handling included at no charge on 6+ bottles!


"The wannabe hipster NYC somm in me dug it, and dug it over a few consecutive evenings...there’s enough black pepper to keep Vietnamese harvesters busy...blue and red fruits with vibrancy and a sense of purpose, dried sage and dried flowers, and a stupid amount of balance for the price point. The “touch of Viognier” is 2%, enough to give the wine a nice aromatic lift and even more black pepper and some leather whip-cracking at the end. An OVERACHIEVER."
- Joe Roberts, 1WineDude.com, November 2013

"Dark purple. Smoke- and pepper-accented aromas and flavors of dark berries and cherry, with a bright mineral overtone. Tangy and precise, finishes with good clarity and cut."
- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013

"Opaque ruby. Varietally accurate aromas of dark berries, violet, cracked pepper and smoky bacon. Juicy and nicely precise, offering energetic blackberry and mulberry flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate. The smoky note comes back on the finish, which clings with good tenacity."
- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar


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.


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.


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.


Regional Composition: 79% Sonoma Coast, 21% Sonoma County
Varietal Composition: 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier
pH: 3.56
Alcohol: 12.4%
Total Production: 15 barrels

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