2016 Obsidian Ridge "The Cinders"
On the nose, this wine has the classic Syrah perfume of bacon char and black pepper. With time, that evolves to reveal blueberry jam and toasted oak. On the palate, the wine is weighty and full of juicy, spiced blackberry flavors, but is balanced with a firm acidity. The finish is long and savory.
Obsidian Ridge Vineyard is planted at 2,640' atop the Mayacamas range north of the Napa Valley. Where now there are vines, there was once an abandoned walnut orchard. Cleared into a mound, the burn pile left a mark—maybe fifty feet in diameter—of dark cinders mixed with the ubiquitous black rock. The handful of vines growing from “The Cinders” produces wine unlike anything else grown on Obsidian Ridge.
The grip of California’s four-year drought began to loosen in 2016 with a wet spring. Late season rains graced the beginning of the springtime growing season, replenishing the soil and giving the awakening vines critical nourishment. With less dehydration stress, the vines had a healthy canopy and well-balanced fruit load, with fuller grape clusters and slightly larger berries. Vine health and vigor in 2016 made for a smooth growing season and harvest, resulting in more voluptuous wines, approachable in their youth but rewarding patience.
Our Syrah is a blend of 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 15 months. Frequent rackings in the wine’s youth released the expressive fruit character of the wine.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker