We only started making Syrah in 1995 so we're still fine tuning our winemaking routine. Twelve years ago there was little Syrah planted in Mendocino. We produced two Gold Medal winners as rookies but then the grower decided to take advantage of a seller's market and promised his grapes to a winery with deeper pockets. We were disappointed about losing future harvests from this proven field but since several other Syrah vineyards were being planted we kept a sharp lookout for other growers. It takes several vintages to assess a vineyard; we've found some good ones and we've dropped some disappointing ones. While all of our Syrah once came from the Russian River area, 42% of this vintage was grown in the cooler Navarro River watershed. The cooler weather means this wine is tauter, higher in acid with less alcohol. The aromas suggest white pepper which is a signature of cool climate Syrah. Syrah grapes grown by Kurt and Heather Schoeneman in Boonville are the most recent addition to our blend.
Winemaker Jim Klein with Kurt and Heather Schoeneman who own and operate Ferrington Vineyards in Boonville. Their Pinot Noir is a regular part of our
Méthode à l'Ancienne bottlings so we had good reason to expect excellence from their Syrah.
Navarro's largest red fermentors have detachable lids so that we can seal up the tanks at night or after the fermentation ends when we want to retain the carbon dioxide that is emitted during fermentation as a blanket of protection against the oxygen in the air.
We added 23% Grenache for mid-palate fruit and a touch of Mourvèdre for a hint of forest. Like Syrahs from the Rhone this wine ages gracefully and the hints of leather, cherry and eucalyptus weave a particularly intricate design over time. Gold Medal Winner.
During harvest the crush pad is busy from 7 AM until midnight. Winemaking is like cooking; the last one in the kitchen has to wash the pots and pans. Late at night the winery is spic and span, ready for the next day's harvest.