2004 Vieilles Vignes Syrah
We have 2 blocks of Syrah at McDowell, both from the old Gibson Ranch originally planted in 1894. The oldest vines are planted on their own roots and date back to at least 1919. The field blend includes Durif, Carignane, Pelourcin and Aubun in addition to the Syrah. Our other block was propagated from the original plantings in 1948 and budded onto St. George rootstock. As far as we know, these are the oldest Syrah vines in production in California. In 2005 mother nature provided a near perfect growing season and our 2005 Vieilles Vignes Syrah is an exemplary wine for the vintage. Like all of our Syrah, we picked into 35 lb lug bins to ensure the highest quality fruit arrives at the winery. This is especially impactful with these old vines as their tree-like nature requires extra sorting and with our lugs we are able to sort twice in the vineyard and once at the winery to ensure only the highest quality fruit (and ONLY fruit) goes into the vat. Like all of our wines, we ferment in oak, and both primary and malolactic fermentation (MLF) occurred without inoculation. The wine stayed sur lie for 17 months until we racked to tank in preparation for bottling and we bottled unfiltered.
Our 2004 Vieilles Vignes Syrah shows a wonderfully complex and layered palette that begins with aromas of bacon fat and white pepper and quickly reveals ripe red fruit laced with herbs de Provence. Robust and structured tannins provide a masculine backbone for the long and lush finish. This wine will only get better for the next 5-7 years (at least).
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