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Local lore says that Syrah arrived in Sonoma in the 1880’s via John Drummond and some budwood he brought from France. Whether true or not, Syrah didn’t really catch on until a century later (at the time, Sonoma Zinfandel was king). And just a few decades ago, Sonoma had a higher percentage of acres planted to Syrah, the noble red grape from France’s Rhône Valley, than Pinot Noir. No longer. After the 2004 movie Sideways, consumers went nuts for Pinot Noir, and Sonoma farmers can sell one ton of Pinot Noir for a lot more than one ton of Syrah, so Syrah was pushed into the shadow of Pinot Noir. Regardless, it is a grape that thrives in Sonoma’s many microclimates.

In a way, Syrah is a bit of the Rodney Dangerfield of grapes; “I don’t get no respect”. Ironically, some of the best bargains in the world today are Syrah-based. Unlike Pinot Noir, Syrah needs to be handled more forcefully in the winery. It’s tougher skins often require more maceration and it needs oxygen to really show its stuff. So we are a bit rough with it, in a good way. Don’t underestimate its charms.

We started making Syrah in 2003 when I was working with Australian winemaker buddies on the iconic Penfolds business. My Aussie mates shared with me the magic of Syrah; how it can thrive in both warm and cold climates, and inside tips on how to care for it in the winery and more. We initially named our Syrah “Pey Vineyards - Spicerack” but a wine company up on the coast released their shark-toothed lawyers on us claiming infringement. After a year of needlessly expensive lawyerly back-and-forth BS we named our Syrah “Spicerack”. This unique moniker “Spicerack” is perfect for this wine. It extolls the wines unmistakable aromas; every time we open a bottle we feel like we are opening the spice rack in our kitchen; clove, anise, pepper, bay leaves, oregano, and more. Fuck those trademark lawyers. We love the name Spicerack.

Today our Spicerack Syrah comes from mature, low-yielding dry-farmed hillside sites across Sonoma; Alexander Valley AVA, Dry Creek AVA and others. These microclimates have warm, sunny days and evenings that are surprisingly cold. In the glass, Spicerack is as dark as night, savory, complex, with layers of nuanced aromas and a “spicerack” of flavors. It is generous with velvety tannins but is not over ripe, nor is it overloaded with new French oak. It has a precise, balanced personality with layered, nervy tannins in the background that keep things well in order. Don’t miss it.

Jonathan Pey in vineyard with bottle of Spicerack Syrah

California license plate with Syrah on it

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SKU: SpiceSyrah21

"Wine is the temperate, civilized, sacred, romantic mealtime beverage recommended in the Bible. It is a liquid food that has been part of civilization for 8,000 years. Wine has been praised for centuries by statesmen, scholars, poets, and philosophers. It has been used as a religious sacrament, as the primary beverage of choice for food, and as a source of pleasure and diversion. Wine is the natural beverage for every celebration: the birth of a child, graduations, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, promotions, family gatherings, toasts between governments, and other festivities."

Robert Mondavi