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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.

2010 Syrah - Vino Dulce (Port-Style Wine)
Santa Barbara County

2010 Syrah - Vino Dulce (Port-Style Wine)

Technical Details

100% Syrah

Vineyard Sources:
100% Clover Creek Vineyard

Production: 125 cases
Alcohol by volume: 19.5%
pH: 3.33
Titratable acidity: 0.58 g/100ml
Cellaring potential: Five to eight years
Bottle price: $23

Historically I have made our port-style Vino Dulce wine every other year; however, in 2010, I broke with tradition and made Vino Dulce two years in a row. It is fortunate I did, because the 2009 vintage sold out in early February and fans of our Vino Dulce now will not have to wait another year.

As in previous years, I sourced the Syrah grapes from Clover Creek Vineyard located in Santa Ynez. Relatively cool weather delayed harvest in 2010, which resulted in harvesting the Syrah grapes on November 4th at a sugar level of 26 Brix.

The grapes were destemmed and crushed into a small open top fermenter then carefully monitored. To arrest the fermentation at the desired residual sugar level, the wine was pressed off into a small refrigerated tank and high proof spirits were added to bring the alcohol up to approximately 19%. The finished wine was then transferred to French oak barrels to begin a 24 month aging period. This wine is unfined and unfiltered and was bottled in December 2012.

The wine has a very dark ruby color. The aromas are of ripe, slightly peppery Syrah grapes with a hint of chocolate cherries. On the palate the wine is full bodied with sweet flavors of cherries, vanillin and spicy Syrah. The wine has excellent acidity which balances the residual sugar creating a wine that is not cloyingly sweet and contributes to the long, lingering finish of the wine.

Enjoy with dark chocolate or a cheese plate with dried fruits and nuts.

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