2009 Syrah, Rodgers Creek Vineyard, Sonoma Coast
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This is our fifth release from this unique property, positioned 800 feet up the southwest face of Sonoma Mountain, hard by the Petaluma Gap which sweeps cool Pacific air past on its way to the Central Valley. Poor volcanic soils and the cool weather limit yields to two tons per acre or less, and it is routinely the last or among the last of our sites to be harvested. This cool climate brings out the savory characteristics of the variety, as opposed to its jammy, fruity side, and one finds here aromas and flavors of smoked meats, white pepper, green olive and grapefruit, with an almost Pinot-like texture and balance on the palate; definitely not an overblown Shiraz style. When we planted this in 2002 we put in 8% Viognier which we harvest at the same time we like the inclusion of whole Syrah clusters in the fermentation and so add 25-30%; this seems to heighten the 'Syrahness.'