2016 Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah
Russian River Valley
Russian River Valley
Cherry Ridge Vineyard
September 27, 2016
23 months in French oak (40% new barrels)
Open top fermentation, cold soak, manual punch down
Wine & Spirits
The cool 2016 season let our Cherry Ridge vineyard fruit hang until it was the last of our vineyards picked. As with all the wines this vintage, there’s a friendly forwardness to our Syrah, which shows in the exuberant bright boysenberry fruit that leads the nose. The characteristic leather and sandalwood savory notes back up the fruit, along with some pretty purple flower aromas of violet and wisteria. In the glass, the density and richness of the wine is apparent, and the mouth delivers that promise, with blackberry pie framed by white pepper and cedar, along with a touch of grilled meat adding a wild element to the flavors. Firm but round tannins carry the juicy fruit and dusky spice to a lengthy finish.
Cherry Ridge juts out over the west side of Green Valley just north of the Petaluma Wind Gap. This scenic vineyard enjoys a south facing slope at the top of the ridge, making it a proverbial “warm spot in a cold area”. Cherry Ridge is just temperate enough to ripen Syrah (most years) in a region best known for the cold-loving Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Just over three acres are planted, split between clones 470, 383 and 877, for the balance of bright fruit, white pepper spice, and plush tannins that we love.
In the traditional fashion, our Syrah is fermented in small open top fermenters, where punchdowns impart a softness which so compliment the depth inherent in this varietal. The fruit is hand sorted and destemmed, and the must is cold-soaked for 5 days in order to gently extract color, spice and fruit characters, while mitigating harsher tannins. After fermentation, the wine is racked into French oak to age. During its barrel aging, this wine was racked twice: once for initial blending and barrel honing, and a second time to further bring along flavor and tannin development. We always start out with fewer new barrels than it might end up in, both to finesse the amount of new wood, and to season some new barrels with white fermentation before using them in the final Syrah aging.
Food Pairing Notes
Grilled meats come to mind first as excellent matches, such as spare ribs, grilled lamb, or Carolina pulled pork. A tangy and creamy cheese brings out the sweet fruit and texture of the wine beautifully. We love a goat Gouda, Bellwether’s Pepato, and a mild Camembert.