2014 Peters Vineyard Syrah
Sebastapol, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma County, CA
2014 Vintage: The year began with continued drought conditions, unusually warm winter temperatures, and very little frost. These conditions combined motivated the vines to wake up and begin their growing season 4-6 weeks ahead of normal. These same warm temperatures allowed for an even fruit set, and, happily, a great deal of concentration from tiny berries in both Pinot and other varietals. The ripening season itself was dry and consistently warm, queueing the grapes up for one of our earliest harvests on record -- we started bringing in fruit in mid-August.
Vineyard: Randy Peters farms this vineyard outside of Sebastopol in western Sonoma County. The southern slopes of these hills form the northern edge of the Petaluma Gap, which rushes cool, marine air from the Pacific Ocean inland. These Syrah and interplanted Viognier vines, which Randy put in for us just a few years ago, occupy less than an acre at the lowest edge of this cool, foggy vineyard. The entire block produced just above three tons of fruit. Viognier is coplanted with the Syrah in this vineyard. They are harvested together and co-fermented resulting in approximately 7-10% viognier in the final blend.
Winery: We harvest the syrah towards the end of the season - around November 1 or after. We vinify 60% whole cluster. We don't inoculate or add enzymes at primary stage and let uncultivated yeasts perform the fermentation while punching down a few times a day. The wine is gently pressed when it has been dry for a few days in the fermenter. At this point, some of the whole berries do release a touch of fresh, carbonically macerated juice - the fermentation is officially completed in barrel. The wine sees only neutral oak. We do not initiate malolactic fermentation, which often will last uninfluenced until the following Spring. We employed a bit of lees stirring at the beginning of elevage but then allowed the wine to uncoil in barrel with periodic topping. Syrahs are bottled close to 18 months post-harvest.
Tasting: Wild, exotic aromatics leap out of the glass, with electric aromatics of pomegranate and a juniper berry. The Peters Syrah has never been timid in the mouth, and this wine hits the palate with a wave of close-textured dark fruit and sappy, young tannin. Initially warm and exotic, the palate is complemented by a piercingly cool, effortless finish. This wine can be drunk over the next eight years.