{2016 Syrah – Estate}

We love Syrah from all over the planet. Syrah is intensely expressive of site, and ours is no exception.  Planted here in 1994 with a U.C. Davis clone (go Aggies!), over the years our Syrah has developed a distinctive character unique to Cedarville, and reflective of our high elevation and decomposed granite soils.  Deep blueberry, pretty plums, black peppercorns, and pencil lead aromas leap out of the glass.  The mouth is full of espresso and dark chocolate covered cherry flavors, which are framed elegantly by pretty oak, balanced acidity and a long rich finish.  It’s delicious!  Organically farmed, bottled without filtration. 

Blend:  96% Syrah, 4% Viognier (co-fermented)
Price:  $29
Cases Produced:  121

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Read about Previous Vintages:

As these steep hillside vines grow older, they yield grapes whose flavors reflect their site.  The best Syrahs taste of where they grow, and we think our soil, climate and high elevation shine through in our 2015 Syrah.  This wine has gorgeous aromas of dark cherry, black olives and white pepper, followed by flavors of plums, cinnamon, espresso and bacon fat, with smooth tannins on the long finish.  Bright, rich and elegant, and, as demonstrated by our Syrah Vertical Tasting Weekend, the wine has the potential to age gracefully.  Organically farmed, bottled without filtration.
Blend:  95% Syrah, 5% Viognier (co-fermented)
Cases Produced:  130

Perched on the terraced hillsides surrounding our house with roots reaching deep in the decomposed granite soil, our Syrah vines never fail to deliver a beautifully elegant expression of this lovely grape.  The 2014 has plum, dark cherry, cinnamon, and smoky roasted meat notes in the aromas, with similar themes in the plush mouth along with a touch of freshly cracked black pepper, a hint of savory bacon fat, balanced acidity and smooth tannins on the finish.  It is elegant, structured, and will reward aging.  Co-fermented with 4% Viognier.  Organically farmed, bottled without filtration.   

Planted in 1994, our Syrah vines are among the oldest in California.  Deeply rooted into the decomposed granite hillsides surrounding our house, our Syrah is amazingly consistent from vintage to vintage.  We're excited to start pouring this 2013 as the 2012 sold out quickly, and we've missed Syrah in our tasting line up.   This wine opens up with tapenade, roasted meat, and white pepper aromatics, followed by Santa Rosa plum and cinnamon spice flavors, a hint of freshly cracked black pepper, smooth tannins and balanced natural acidity.  It is uniquely Cedarville Vineyard Syrah.  Co-fermented with 4% Viognier. Grapes farmed organically, and bottled without filtration. 

Our Syrah vines were planted in 1994, which by California standards is quite old, and old is good. Good because, over time, our vines have rooted deeply in our granitic soil, and the resulting wines have a common set of flavors, year in and year out.  This wine greets you with aromas of espresso, anise, and a hint of toasty oak, and follows with flavors of Santa Rosa plum, tapenade, roasted meats, our signature balanced acidity, and keenly integrated tannins.  This wine tastes lovely right now, and will age beautifully, just like our previous vintages. Cofermented with 4% Viognier.  Organically farmed grapes. Bottled without filtration.  .

The cool 2011 growing season gave us the opportunity to make a truly unique rendition of our Syrah. We don't know if we'll see another vintage like 2011 again! This is our lowest alcohol Syrah to date, weighing in at 13.5%. The wine has lovely aromas of cracked peppercorns, cocoa, and fresh cherries combined with bright, fresh, and spicy flavors framed by the smoky oak of our Burgundian barrels. It's very elegant, with lots of minerality. This wine begs for a meal – its zesty character will meld beautifully with food.

Blend:  96% Syrah, 4% Viognier

Price:  $27

Cases Produced:  96

Cooler vintages, like 2010, give us the opportunity to develop full flavors with lower alcohol levels, but it's necessary to keep crop yields low to ensure timely ripeness. We removed over 50% of our organically farmed Syrah crop well before harvest, an excellent decision in 2010. The wine is delicious and accessible now, full of plummy fruit, with cherry liqueur and mineral aromatics and a rich, smoky, long finish. Our Syrah continues to be a unique expression of this beautiful grape.

Our 2009 is a blend of our 6 best barrels of Syrah from the highest elevation vines surrounding our house. This vintage benefited from the ideal growing conditions of 2009, and from the ripeness which emerged from the low yields we demand of our vineyard. Classic Cedarville Syrah aromas of ripe plums, white pepper, crushed granite, and wood smoke are joined by dark cherry and chocolate flavors, a sense of richness, balanced acidity, and fabulous length on the finish. It tastes delicious now, with great potential to develop with age. Blend: 96% Syrah, 4% Viognier

At a friend's house recently, we tasted the first 10 vintages of our Syrah, 1998-2007.  It was great fun, and two things stood out.  First, all the wines were still alive and tasting anywhere from very good to excellent.  Second, our vineyard really does speak through these wines.    Our first vintages, 1998-2002, displayed the most "vintage character" -- the effects of the weather during the growing season.  But in the more recent vintages, beginning with 2003 (the 10th growing season for these vines), vintage character took a back seat to the character of our vineyard. 

Our 2008 Syrah has tasted great from the get-go, delightfully so!  It's more accessible than any of our recent  Syrahs, showing lots of dark plum, white pepper, and root spice aromas, with sweet forest floor, black pepper, and toasty oak flavors. 

Blend:  96% Syrah, 4% Viognier (co-fermented)

Our 2007 Syrah is a blend of 2/3rds grapes grown in our highest elevation Top Block, and 1/3rd on our very steep North block.  A small quantity of Viognier was co-fermented to add complexity.  Aromas of Santa Rosa plums and white pepper in the nose lead to blackberry, chocolate, and cinnamon flavors with a great sense of minerality – like tasting crushed rocks, but in a good way.  And like our 2006 Syrah, it's rich in texture, the result of our low yields (two tons per acre). 

Blend:  96% Syrah, 4% Viognier

In 2006, our Syrah grapes matured on the vine for longer than usual, leading to darker fruit aromas and flavors, more complexity overall, and great length on the finish. This vintage reminds us of our riper vintages, 2002 and 2004, but with a brighter expression of fruit and terroir. This Syrah was assembled from 5 barrels of our favorite block at the top of the hill next to our house (always our thickest, blackberry-est lot), and 5 barrels from the top of the North facing slope, (a plummy, smoky, and meaty lot). The nose is full of blackberry and wood smoke aromas with hints of loam and cocoa powder. The mouth is well-integrated with soft tannins and layers of fruit, with plum and coffee notes. This wine will unfold over the next 3 to 4 years, but wow, does it ever taste great now! We feel this wine is an incredible value and is easily as tasty as Syrahs with more ambitious prices.

Estate Vineyard Blocks: Estate Vineyard, north and east facing slopes at the top of our vineyard at over 2,500 feet elevation.

Blend: 96% Syrah, 4% Viognier

Price: $25

Cases Produced: 248

Every vintage is so different!  2005 gave us juicy, lively wines with wonderfully pure varietal characteristics.  As usual, we cut off 1/2 of our Syrah crop midway through the 2005 growing season to concentrate the flavor in the remaining clusters. Our final blend for the 2005 Syrah is a strict selection of the best barrels from our favorite syrah blocks - the core of the wine is our "Top Block" lot, with about 1/3rd of the blend coming from our North and East Block lots.  This is possibly the most classic Syrah we've made in terms of pureness of flavor and complexity.  Same vines, same winemaking regimen as previous years, yet the wine is reflective of this unique growing season.  

Estate Vineyard Block: Estate Vineyard, north and east facing slopes at the highest elevation in the vineyard in excess of 2,500 feet above sea level

Blend: 99% Syrah, 1% Viognier

Price: $25

Cases Produced: 273

Tasting Note: Aromas of white pepper, espresso, and plums in the nose merge with dark cherry and chocolate flavors, spicy notes, and a silky, long finish.

When we have the opportunity to taste our previous vintages of Syrah side by side, we’re always pleased with the unique character of our vineyard that shows through in every vintage.  They all taste like they come from the same place, which is the magic of working exclusively with our own vineyard.  Of course, every growing season is different, which accounts for much of the difference in flavor in each vintage.  In 2004, dramatically low yields (less than 2 tons per acre) combined with the ripeness of the vintage to help us craft a very rich and thick Syrah.  Compared to prior vintages, it could be called a little more “Californian” in character and rather decadent. 

Vineyard: Estate Vineyard, south facing slop near top of vineyard at over 2,500 feet elevation.

15.4 % alcohol

Price: $25

Cases Produced: 371

Tasting Note: Our 2004 Syrah has the classic Cedarville Vineyard Syrah aromatics of earth, cedar and blackberries, along with a hint of graphite,  chocolate and blackberry flavors, chalky tannins, balancing acids, and a very long finish.   We co-fermented with a little higher percentage of Viognier than in 2003, which beautifully complements the intensity of the Syrah.  As usual, it is the most complex and layered of our wines, and a wonderful wine with food.  If you can manage to cellar some bottles, we suspect it will age gracefully, as have our previous vintages.

2003 was the 10th growing season for our Syrah vines. Our Syrah vines were planted in 1994, which, as it turns out, makes them older than 90+% of the Syrah vines planted in California. We are finding that with each passing vintage, our bottled Syrah shows a little more richness and complexity with greater depth of fruit flavors.

The 2003 Syrah is a more structured wine than the 2002, yet its flavors are better developed than the 2002 was at the same point in its life. In 2003, we decided to begin aging the wine an extra 6 months in barrel in order to better integrate aromas and flavors, so this wine spent a total of 22 months in French oak. We also co-fermented the Syrah with 3% Viognier to give the wine a softer entry and a touch more juiciness. Because of these changes, our Syrah will be ready to enjoy upon release."

Estate Vineyard Blocks: Estate Vineyard Block: Syrah North and East Slopes, North facing Viognier Block

Blend: 97% Syrah, 3% Viognier

14.7 % alcohol

Price: $25

Cases Produced: 425

Tasting Note: Pencil lead, cedar, wood smoke, white pepper, and shaved white chocolate aromas. These follow in the mouth, along with blackberry, dark chocolate, cream, and a very long finish. The 2003 Syrah is thick textured, with precise tannins and good acidity which will enable this wine to age gracefully and make it taste wonderful with meals. As usual, it is the most complex and layered of our wines.

The majority of our Syrah vines were 9 years old in 2002. Whether age matters in Syrah vines is debatable, but reaching a more mature age has made a difference in our vineyard. The tools we use to manage Syrah's natural vigor were very effective in 2002. By careful use of irrigation and shoot thinning, among other things, we were able to keep the crop load below 3 tons per acre, resulting in a concentration of flavor in each of the Syrah component blocks. Many of you who visited us here this past year have had the chance to taste barrel samples of the blocks which formed our 2002 Syrah ­ the juicy East Block, the white pepper-ish North Block, the thick-textured Top Block, and the mineral flavored Road Block. Each component was distinct, but as we've concluded in prior vintages, the blend of these components produced the most complete wine. Unfortunately, ruthless dropping of crop and small berry size means we didn't make very much of it.

Estate Vineyard Block: North and East Slopes

14.2 % alcohol

Price: $25

Cases Produced: 436

Tasting Note: In the nose, the 2002 Syrah is loaded with plums, blackberries, wood smoke, and white pepper notes which jump from the glass, and is matched in the mouth by flavors of chocolate and blackberry, and a thick, rich finish. This is our most intense Syrah to date.

For the first time, we decided to harvest our Syrah in distinct blocks based on elevation, rather than north or east- facing exposure. As the early and dry 2001 growing season progressed, we noticed that the grapes growing in the highest elevation rows on both the north and east- facing hillsides were ripening faster than the steeper hillside rows below. We harvested the highest elevation rows separately from the hillside blocks. The final blend for our 2001 Syrah is composed of 1/3rd from the highest elevation block and 2/3rd hillside blocks . We think you'll enjoy the synergy these vineyard blocks display in our 2001 Syrah, which is easily the equal of our previous three vintages of Syrah.

Estate Vineyard Block: North and East Slopes

14.2 % alcohol

Price: $25

Cases Produced: 701

Tasting Note: The highest elevation block contributes spice, smokiness, a thick texture and a long, ripe blackberry finish to the wine. The grapes from the hillside blocks contribute pretty plum, cedar and white pepper notes.