Syrah Viking Estate Vineyard Reserve 2008
92+ points, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 91 points Stephen Tanzer, 91 points Connoisseur's Guide to CA Wine. A wine of breeding and finesse that shows traditional European hallmarks of lavender and jasmine perfume, a silky texture and dark chocolate tastes. Hermitage is not a big wine. Drink now with a good 2 – 4 hour splash decanting, or hold two years to calm down. 93 cases. Unfined and Unfiltered.
Dense, dark red-black opaque color ushers in aromas of violet tinged blackberries and fine Italian espresso. Its brooding Vulcan earthy core demonstrates the vineyard’s limestone mineral complexity bonded to a sweet gamey character hinting of spit roasted lamb rubbed with turmeric, coriander and cardamom. The long, countdown finish leaves one with a mélange of plum, savory meat extract and a liberal use of the spice chest.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate - 92+ points. A wine of breeding and finesse that shows traditional European hallmarks of lavender and jasmine perfume, a silky texture and dark chocolate tastes. Hermitage is not a big wine. Drink now with a good 2 – 4 hour splash decanting, or hold two years to calm down. 93 cases. Unfined and Unfiltered.
At 18 acres, Viking is a true mountain vineyard, located on the coastal influenced west side of Paso Robles, 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Sitting on an extremely steep, south-facing shelf of limestone, the site presents a challenging environment for growing grapes. Varying between 1,400 and 1,695 feet of elevation, these late ripening vines receive the full arc of the sun while keeping their crisp mountain fruit character, a function of elevation and the dramatic 40-50 degree afternoon cool down brought by the intrusion of the marine air flow.
A challenging year, 2008 gave us all the insults that make farming a risky business. Bud break began in late March and continued through April, followed by early spring frosts. Our vineyards lie on steeply sloping terrain which tends to minimize damage to the tender emerging shoots due to the action of gravity pulling the natural air flow down the slope. In May, a heat wave caught the late ripening Cabernet during the critical flowering period, resulting in some shatter and uneven clusters. Unfriendly heat continued into June, but normal summer temperatures prevailed until late August when 100 degree temperatures returned, accelerating the ripening. In general, wines achieved phenolic ripeness, but the shortened growing season and continuing drought resulted in reduced yields.