2018 Spicerack Syrah, Sonoma County
- Superb and diverse sites in the cooler areas of Sonoma bring intensity of aromas and nuanced flavors
- Careful harvest and winemaking decisions showcase varietal intensity and regional specificity
- Judicious use of new French oak allows varietal purity and "sense of place" to show through
2018 Spicerack Syrah comes from two sites in Sonoma. The more northerly site along the Sonoma Coast (60%) with its Goldridge soils brought snappy tannins and pepperiness, while the southerly site in Alexander Valley (40%) added depth and rich texture.
These Syrah bunches were hand-harvested and field-sorted on September 21 & 29 and hand-sorted, destemmed & crushed (10% whole berry) and “cold soaked” for two days in open-top temperature-controlled fermenters. Warm fermentation temperature (85°) moved fermentation along and we kept the cap well immersed in its delicious must. A modest co-ferment with some Viognier added aromatics and stabilized color. The still-fermenting musts were gently pressed into French oak barriques where it completed primary and later, secondary fermentations. The press fractions were about 4% because we want to avoid the bitter seed tannins and were kept separate and ultimately not used. French barrel coopers were top quality, but only 25% new. Fourteen months barrel maturation was supplemented with two rackings which developed its wonderfully smooth but subtle mouth-feel. Our final assemblage of twelve barrels was bottled in May 2019. Medium ruby-red and enjoyable now, it displays the varietal typicity of fine syrah with nuances of a fine spicerack.
The weather in 2018 was exemplary but started quite cool. We had another wet winter and it was followed by a late February bud break. We had some heat spikes in July but cloudy, cooler weather in late August and September allowed us to pick by flavor in September. In short, it was a fairly benign growing season without much drama (we like that!). Yields were about average and the syrah clusters were well-colored, with great aromatics. The resultant wine shows brightness and depth, with superb, savory aromatics.