2011 Obsidian Ridge Estate Syrah
[Tasting Notes] Aromas of fresh blackberries burst from the glass when this young wine is poured. The mouthfeel is surprisingly concentrated in flavor, but yet still light on its feet, dancing on the palate with notes of cinnamon and ripe, black fruits. A hint of savory spice and vanilla add extra dimension to this fruit-driven Syrah.
[Vintage] It had been decades since conditions like those of the 2011 vintage had been experienced in the North Coast. After a long, drawn-out, cool summer, harvest was three-weeks delayed on average. Rains came soon after, and for most growers, the normal two months of harvest was cut in half. What turned quite challenging for many on the valley floors yielded a glorious harvest for Obsidian Ridge. Our site, situated high on our rocky mountain, was kept protected with sunny, dry conditions, despite cool weather patterns. Never before have we had the opportunity to maximize hang-time to this extent, which allowed for full development of flavors and a surprising softening of tannin. The wines were remarkably extracted after only a few days of maceration, and they developed in barrel into our most exciting and elegant wines yet.
[History] Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is planted at 2,640' atop the Mayacamas range north of Napa Valley. This is one of the newest American Viticultural Areas, named Red Hills Lake County for the distinctive volcanic soils that define this remarkable mountain appellation. The vineyard’s red soils are shot through with obsidian rock — this steep, sloping terroir of obsidian gravel is all that a winemaker could hope for. The unrestricted drainage and meager soil fertility produce wines with great tannic structure.
[Winemaking] Our Syrah is a blend of the two clones planted on the mountainside, with each clone lending distinct character to the final blend. Handpicked at the crack of dawn, the grapes were carefully destemmed to tank, where a warm fermentation followed to extract the brooding flavors that come with a young Syrah. The new wine was pressed at dryness and placed in our signature Kádár Hungary barrels, where it aged for 18 months. Frequent rackings in the wine’s youth help release the expressive fruit character of the wine.