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My winemaking philosophy which I developed early on in my career is based on the concept that wine is a natural food. As such, the ultimate enjoyment of wine is as a graceful and harmonious accompaniment to a meal, whether it be simple or sublime.

While most of my wines are enjoyable by themselves, it is with food that they really shine, and reveal all of their nuances and textures. To me the best wines have the ability to bring out the best in the food they are paired with and conversely the food brings out the best in the wines.

2009 Syrah - Vino Dulce (Port-Style Wine)
Santa Ynez Valley

2009 Syrah - Vino Dulce (Port-Style Wine)

Technical Details

100% Syrah

Vineyard Sources:
Clover Creek vineyard – 100%

Production: 143 cases
Alcohol by volume: 18.0
pH: 3.54
Titratable acidity: .58 g/100 ml.
Cellaring potential: five to eight years
Bottle price: $22

We are pleased to release another vintage of Vino Dulce, our port-style wine, which we only produce every two years. This vintage was made from Syrah grapes grown at Clover Creek Vineyard in Santa Ynez. The grapes were harvested on October 3rd at a sugar level of 28 Brix. They were destemmed and crushed into a small, open top fermenter. After a two day cold soak period the must was inoculated. The challenge in making this type of wine is that you must be able to stop the fermentation at the desired level of sugar, which requires close monitoring. This often means that the desired sugar level is reached at rather inconvenient times such as 11:00pm or 4:00am.

To arrest the fermentation at the desired sugar level, the must was pressed off into a tank, high proof spirits were added, and the wine was immediately chilled. The finished wine was then transferred to a single French oak, 132 gallon puncheon, where it aged for 20 months.  It was lightly filtered and bottled in July 2011.

The wine has an opaque, dark ruby color. The aromas are a mix of dark berries with a hint of vanillin and a slight nuance of pepper characteristic of Syrah. On the palate, the wine has cherry and vanillin flavors. The balance of residual sugar, acidity and alcohol makes this wine taste slightly less sweet than previous vintages.  It will definitely appeal to those who do not like dessert wines that are cloyingly sweet.

Enjoy this wine with dark chocolate or a plate of rich cheeses, dried fruit and nuts.  

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