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2015 La Côte Patriarche
Red Willow Vineyard Syrah
The origins of our La Côte Patriarche begin with David Lake and Mike Sauer. In 1986 they took a risk, planting the first Syrah grapes in Washington State. The saying goes “as vines age, they slow down”. I’m not sure this saying is always true, but at our 1986 block of Syrah at Red Willow vineyard, the pace during harvest month is slow and steady. Since 2007, this 1-acre vineyard parcel yields about 3 ½ tons of fruit each season with very little cluster thinning. The Sauer Family are skilled grape growers bringing a high level of precision to the mechanics of viticulture, matched by deep-rooted concern for the soil life.
Two separate vineyard blocks of Syrah from Red Willow vineyard are used in La Côte Patriarche, the first block was planted in 1986 and the second in 2000. Both sites are steep, but the 1986 block (1 acre) sits high on a south-facing slope and “roasts” in the hottest days of August and September. The 2000 planting (1.4 acres of the same clonal material as the 1986 block) of Syrah is located in the “Marcoux” section of Red Willow Vineyard. This block produces a richer, more robust character and darker fruit flavors.
In 2015, both blocks of Syrah were picked on September 15th. The grapes were 100% de-stemmed and fermented in a combination vessel, including concrete for the 1986 block. After a 10 day fermentation period, the contents of each fermentation tank were pressed into a combination of 228, 300, and 500l barrels. The resulting wines were aged “sur lie” for 10 months, and bottling after 1 year.