2009 SYRAH, BENNETT VALLEY
Throughout the years, I have compared the Jemrose Vineyard Syrah to several Northern Rhône appellations. One year it’s a ringer for Cornas; another year it exhibits more Hermitage like qualities; and, at its most balanced, it can resemble Côte-Rôtie. The comparisons have always been apt and the 2009 version certainly merits the same notation. This year I can find elements of all three archetypes so I will leave it to you to decide.
The topography of Jemrose is reminiscent of the Northern Rhône. The steep north facing slope of its “Cardiac Hill” is every bit a challenge to climb as many of the vineyards I worked in France. Its fractured rocks make traversing the vineyard a challenge, and occasionally remind me why I prefer to work in the flat comfort of the winery.
Like its cousin, Valenti Ranch, I extended the barrel aging for the Jemrose Syrah by four months. Its robust tannins and dense structure gave me confidence the wine would benefit from additional time in barrel. As with Valenti Ranch, the additional barrel time made a marked difference for the better. It allowed some of the wild tannins to mellow and made the wine more approachable come bottling.
Picked on the 26th of October, fermented with seventy-five percent whole clusters, equal parts 174 and 470 clones, aged for fourteen months in twenty-five percent new French oak, and bottled without fining or filtration, the 2009 Jemrose Vineyard Syrah expresses the savory side of Syrah. One hundred cases produced.
A striking mélange of spice and savory characteristics immediately reveal themselves. Olive tapenade, tobacco leaf, blackberries, and cracked black pepper lift the nose. The wine is supported by rich and firm tannins that accentuate fennel and sage elements and abundant currant tones. The wine finishes with a flourish of venison, iodine, and boysenberry.