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2008 Indian Creek Syrah
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Lightning complex

We tend to compare back to back harvests, especially when variations in weather make such dramatic differences in the wines we can craft. In 2008, as in 2007, the weather was variable during spring and the grape clusters were a mishmash of berry sizes with tiny berries dominating. Then, when the berries were sizing up in July 2008, a series of 700 wildfires raged in Northern California for several weeks. Like us, the vines were affected by the smoke. Many weeks after the smoke disappeared, harvest approached but, unlike 2007, the weather in late September turned cold with October daytime temperatures rarely in the 70's. The grapes ripened in slow motion giving us plenty of time to harvest each field at the optimum ripeness.

We age all our Syrah in seasoned French oak barrels. [above] Barrels are the backbone of a red wine adding hints of vanilla and coconut. Barrels can also impart a smoky quality, but in 2008, the smoky notes are mostly due to the summer wildfires.
The insides of expensive French oak barrels are charred [below] over oak fires so a smoky quality is imparted to wines aged in barrels. Over 2,000 forest wildfires contributed to smoky skies over most of California in summer 2008. Grapevines are living organisms and what happens in their environment matters. For a complete discussion of this issue and how Navarro dealt with the travails of the 2008 vintage see www.navarrowine.com/vintage2008.

The grapes were harvested cold, de-stemmed and the skins allowed to macerate with the juice until fermentation started with vineyard-born yeasts a few days later. We then added a small amount of wine yeast to insure that the fermentation finished completely without any problems. The wine was aged 10 months in seasoned French Oak barrels and a cuvée was selected from three separate vineyard blocks. The wine has ripe black-cherry fruit from the cool ripening, vanilla from the French oak, and smoke from the summer wild fires. Silver Medal winner.

Harvested: Sept. 22 to Oct. 18, 2008 Sugars at harvest: 26.3° Brix
Bottled: Aug. 19, 2009 Alcohol: 13.7%
Titratable acidity: 6.5 g/L pH: 3.75

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