2004 La Côte Rousse, Syrah
One national critic recently wrote that the tannins from Red Mountain red varieties are tough to tame, and that he preferred the softer tannins of other areas in the state. He's right in one sense: typical high summer temperatures in the appellation can build thick-skinned, low juice fruit, jammed with tannins. But he missed something in the winemaker's quest to reveal a "sense of place" in a finished wine (terroir, if you want to speak French). We don't want all our wines to be homogenous expressions of the cellar, but rather reflections of the fundamental character of where they originated.
We're conscious of this potential for excess tannins when we work with Red Mountain grapes in the cellar. We pay close attention to the tannin development throughout winemaking; during crush, fermentation, and "drain and press" we taste each tank 2-3 times/day to evaluate the increase in tannin, and focus all our steps on extracting all the sweet skin tannins and avoiding astringent seed tannins. Each step helps insure the overall balance of abundant sweet tannin.
The 2004 La Côte Rousse Syrah is just such a wine: packed with dense, ripe flavors and abundant tannin while retaining a textural sweetness. It unites two Red Mountain vineyards, Scott Williams whose grapes we've used since our first Syrah, and Ciel du Cheval which we introduced into the 2003 vintage. La Côte Rousse speaks the language of the appellation, with a power, structure and longevity that differentiates it from the La Serenne, grown only 25 miles away. The 2004 has more "French" character than previous vintages: smoke, minerals and gaminess, a wonderful expression of the variety. This is even more cellar worthy than La Serenne, with a solid decade ahead of it.
Blending Detail and Aging Profile
- 100% Syrah
- 100% French oak barrels
- 65% new/35% one fill, for 16 months
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
100% Red Mountain
- Scott Williams
- Ciel du Cheval