Syrah

Syrah is one of my favorite varietals.  It is produced all over the wine making world and is a varietal that greatly shows characters that are directly influenced by where it is grown.  In my opinion, that is the key to great wine; it represents its vineyard and growing region in the glass!   For years we produced Syrah under our Smith Wooton brand.  We sourced the fruit from what I believe is one of the best warm climate locales for Syrah.  The vineyard is located outside of Murphys, CA on a steep and rugged hillside.  The Tanner vineyard is magical for the style of Syrah we love to make.  There are two important factors to this vineyard: one is the tough, rocky soil where the vines are planted and the second is the care in which the Tanner family farms it.

The vineyard is littered with stones that were uncovered when planting the vines.  I have even been told that some of the vines had to be planted using crowbars in order to get the roots in the ground in between the stones.  This abundance of rock material holds heat at night that radiates into the vineyard.  The combination of site, location, and climate produce Syrah grapes that possess rich varietal character, yet an affinity for elegance.

Secondly, the Tanner Family puts as much love in the vineyard as we do in our winery.  The entire family is involved in the farming process and it shows in the quality of the grapes.  This is one of the main reasons we choose to work with the vineyards we do.  I look for owners who are active in the field.  I truly believe that the energy and passion of the family ends up in the finished product.

After years of customers asking why we stopped making our Syrah, I decided to bring it back into the Smith Wooton line-up.  The 2013 Syrah is the first release sense 2006.  This wine is another classic Smith Wooton, handcrafted gem.  Rich, yet balanced with true varietal character, perfect for game and lamb.  This wine is unfined and unfiltered and showcases both richness and complexity, while holding on to just the right amount of acidity.

SmithWooten_Syrah_13

2016-03-12 18.17.39
Lamb Sirloin

 

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Pipe and Pint Grape Notes – Vol.1/ Ch.1

Thanks for the great review!

World of Wine CP

2013 Croze Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville

Croze-2013-Cabernet-Sauvignon-Oakville

For our first Grape note we wanted to pick a wine that has character, is meaningful and also represents a certain connection to the wine selection at Pipe and Pint. The 2013 Croze Cabernet Sauvignon seemed like a perfect fit. To start things off, winemaker Daniel Benton is originally from North Carolina and a friend of Larry’s and Pete’s. Also, Daniel is a great fan of Bordeaux style wines which as I will talk more about later, clearly shows in this particular wine and definitely appeals to me personally.

Let me say this up front, I love wines that apart from being powerful and bold, also show finesse and a somewhat classic style and this wine definitely matches those criteria. I quote the great wine writer Jancis Robinson in saying that “wine is geography in a bottle” and with a bit of experience it’s usually…

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Bud Break 2016

No rest for the weary!   It looks like we are going to have an early bud break this year.  That is the point in the grapevines life when it begins to come out of winter dormancy and begin to grow shoots.  These shoots will continue to grow and eventually produce the grapes that we all love.

As vineyard managers, we have been busy preparing the vineyards for the 2016 growing season.  We pruned last years growth off the vines and set them up to grow in the manner we wish based on our trellis systems.  This can be very different from vineyard to vineyard.  The training and trellis system is chosen for each individual site and grape varietal to achieve the desired fruit characteristics for the site.

In additional the soils are being prepared to support the growth.  For most of the Napa Valley, this means plowing and turning under the green fertilizer you planted in the winter.  We use natural and organic means to replace vital nutrients to the soil.  This green manure is called cover crop, and based on the needs of the individual site, it can contain a mix of legumes, grasses, and greens.  When this cover crop turned into the soil, it supplies the nutrients necessary for the grape vines to grow.

Overall, this is a beautiful time of year in the Valley.  There is an energy that radiates this time of year.  New excitement for the upcoming season and a nervousness for the challenges that lie ahead.  Cheers to 2016

Bud Break