Not only is the Sebastiano Vineyard an impressive site for growing exquisitely textured and minerally Chardonnay, it is also well-suited for producing beautiful cold-climate Syrah. Planted in 2007 for Sashi Moorman, this is the highest elevation Syrah vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills and is on clay and limestone soils and entirely exposed to the brutal ocean winds. While very different climatically from the Northern Rhône regions of Cornas and Crozes-Hermitage, the cold and windy climatic conditions are similar.
When Syrah is grown in a cold extreme place like this, it becomes extremely aromatic with purple flowers, briary fruit, black pepper and black olive nuances. In our case, these gorgeous aromatics are further accentuated because the wine was fermented 100% wild yeast, entirely as whole-clusterin 4-ton concrete fermenters, and then aged for almost two years in a 581 gallon neutral Foudre – none of which are common practices in the U.S. The results are serious with incredible complexity and yet the wine remains fresh, supple and delicious on the palate with at least a decade of life ahead of it. Syrah is going through a renaissance in California because it is finally being planted in the right places and approached traditionally in the cellar by Winemakers like Sashi, who were weaned on the compelling wines fro the Northern Rhône. 100% whole-cluster. Two years in neutral Foudre. 372 Cases. 13.8% alcohol. Earthier and heavier than previous vintages, this is a Syrah that gives homage to both its Northern Rhône inspiration and its Californian roots. A bright ruby/purple color with moderate acidity and heavy tannins, with dark, earthy, and mildly floral notes of creosote bush and sage—the garrigue of the Sta. Rita Hills. A complex aromatic mixture of leather, tobacco, grilled meats, smoke, black pepper, and cherries transmutes on the palate to a balanced but to be defined impressions of dark berries, spices, cocoa, and herbs. A beautifully structured wine that will continue to deepen and refine its expression of self over the next 10+ years.