2017 Syrah 'Garys' Vineyard'
In the course of my 30 years with Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant I was exposed to some of the greatest bottlings of Syrah made in France. Wines from the likes of Clape, Verset, Jasmin, Gentaz and Faurie just seemed like a normal day in my life. They also gave me a thorough appreciation for the grape and the great wines it was capable of producing, so it’s no surprise to my friends and colleagues that we put so much into trying to understand the grape, its peculiarities and its potential. The fruit from Gary Pisoni’s Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County was perhaps the most significant breakthrough, as we now work with what is probably the coldest climate Syrah grown in California. We hand-harvest the grapes at 24.0 degrees Brix, crush them by foot in small, open-top fermentation tanks, retaining 100% of the stems for additional flavor and structure. The must ferments naturally without the addition of either laboratory yeast or malo-lactic bacteria, and through both a traditional ‘Pigeage’ and a manual ‘punch-down’, we extract color and flavor from the skins for about 45 days. The tank is then drained and pressed, and the newly made wine is aged for one year in neutral French oak barrels. There is rarely any new oak used for the Syrah. In 2017, the finished alcohol is 13.4%, the color is dark purple, and the wine has a magnificent aroma of blueberry, crème de cassis and wet rocks.
I can’t recall ever being more enthusiastic about our Syrah at Neyers. We bottled 130 cases in early December, without either fining or filtration. - Bruce Neyers