2017 Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah
Russian River Valley
Russian River Valley
Cherry Ridge Vineyard
October 12th, 2017
21 months in French oak (40% new barrels)
The long 2017 season let our Syrah hang into mid-October, giving the wine great ripeness and succulence. Your first look at the wine confirms this—wow, what a color! Deep purple and saturated in the glass, you know this will be an intense wine. Cedar-framed blackberry preserves lead the dark and brooding complex aromas, with a wild gamey and toffee underpinning adding an exotic interest. The mouth is dense, deep and creamy with cherries and marionberries laced with white pepper and sandalwood. Assertive but fine-grained tannins lead to a fresh cranberry/cherry baking spice 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 and charcuterie are the first thing that come to mind for pairing, as their richness are a perfect match for the weight of the wine, while the smokey notes out the spice and counterpoint the fruit. A heart beef stew would make a great accompaniment, enjoyed by a cozy fireplace. Rogue River Blue cheese also makes a nice pairing, along with a Spanish Manchego or creamy goat.