Syrah Signature 2014
Anna's Estate Vineyard
91 pts - Connoisseurs' Guide
Deeply colored and densely fruited this masculine wine exhales textbook aromatics of blueberries, smoke and bacon which are reconfirmed in the fleshy, savory flavors of blackberries, salami, leather, lightly spiced with black pepper.
92+ points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The 2014 Syrah Signature is a ripe, modern-styled beauty that has beautiful black raspberry, toasted bread, creamy licorice and classy oak in a polished, balanced, layered style that carries ripe tannin and nicely integrated acidity. This is a beautiful Syrah that will benefit from short-term cellaring and have a decade of longevity."
91 points - Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"Unbridled in its richness and as ripe as it can be without quite crossing the line into late-harvest excess, this extravagant, richly oaked look at Syrah somehow manages to keep very solid, spicy varietal character within its sights and never abandons fruit in the face of its all-encompassing ripeness. It is absolutely mouthfilling stuff and holds nothing back, and, if sure to be criticized in some quarters as being a little too much, it will delight big-flavor fans who believe that it is impossible to have too much of a good thing."
Syrah is an especially good fit for our northwest corner of the Paso Robles AVA, known as the Adelaida District. Rated as a Region II-III in the Winkler Heat Summation Index this mountainous, coastal influenced sub-AVA is closer to France’s northern Rhone, considered the ideal climate for this variety. The stress of low-fertility calcareous soils and the yin and yang of extreme temperature swings gives Syrah precision and definition not found in warmer regions. The Signature label identifies best sites and a “best barrel” selection from this steep, sun exposed vineyard. Additional refinements to our sustainable farming employs deficit irrigation, mid-season pruning and shade cloth, extending the ripening cycle and increasing phenolics.
Grilled Leg of Lamb rubbed with north African spice paste, Beef ribeye roast with crushed peppercorn crust, Venison Osso-Bucco with ancient Roman marinade
A dedicated collection of Rhône grape varieties, Anna’s mountainous 48 acres are divided between six red varieties, planted between 2001 and 2004 along a steep south facing ridge, and 4 lower elevation white varieties planted in 2007. Red varieties benefit from ideal sun exposure and exhibit the nuanced flavors of their elevated mountain site in Paso Robles' Adelaida District. At between 1,595 and 1,935 feet in elevation, the red varieties lie on an extreme 30 degree slope rooted in devigorating calcareous shale sub soils. At 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the afternoon marine air flow accentuates a dramatic 40-50 degree diurnal temperature cool down. The white varieties lie at the lowest point of the vineyard, 1,595 feet, which promotes a pooling of the cool air. All vines, on drip, are planted on lime tolerant rootstock using a vertical shoot training system. Vine spacing is 4 feet between vines and 10 feet between rows, 1,089 vines/acre. Yields are maintained at 2 tons/acre. Vines are ENTAV certified, the 15 acres of Syrah being a diverse selection, divided into 5 vineyard blocks.
Made in the classic “Cote Rotie style” we co-ferment a very small amount of Viognier clusters with the Syrah. This technique, done at the Signature “Reserve” level only, enhances the Syrah aromatics and amplifies the color. The fifth year of an extended drought brought stress and low yields. In addition, grape clusters suffered “shatter” due to a cold wave during flowering, producing a diminished berry count but the surviving grapes benefited with excellent concentration and extract. The Signature edition utilizes fruit from Block 1 and 2 which are preferred for the smaller size of their berries. Picked between late August and early September the clusters were hand sorted, de-stemmed, with final quality control using optical scanning of individual grapes. Fruit was fermented with indigenous yeast in small lot concrete and stainless fermenting vats with daily pump-overs and punch-downs. Finished wine was moved to barrel, a mix of larger hogshead sizes, emphasizing new French oak where it matured for 18 months.
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