Making Syrah has never been simple at Navarro. There are two popular styles of Syrah being produced in California. The first style is based on the rich, complex wines of the Rhone and like the wines from the Côte Rôtie, they are big and powerful and meant to age. The second style is an import from Australia and our mates on the opposite side of the globe like their Shiraz imbibed young when jammy fruit flavors dominate. We started making Syrah in 2001 and emulated the old world style. The first criterion was finding good vineyards: a moderate climate, highly regarded clones, mature vines, well drained soils, and a conscientious grower willing to limit yields. At the beginning of 2008, we tasted our previous vintages of Syrah and decided the 2006 would really benefit from another year in the bottle; good for the taste buds but bad for the cost accounting.
We ferment Syrah in open-top stainless steel fermentors and punch down by hand. For the first several days, we prevent fermentation by chilling the de-stemmed grapes. This extends the maceration time, allowing us to press before the fermenting must is high in alcohol. Elevated alcohol can cause bitter seed tannin extraction.
This 2006 Syrah has a splash of Grenache added which is traditional in the Rhone valley; it adds plum-like aromas and mid-palate flavors.
Then things got complicated: one grower ditched us for a winery with deeper pockets and a smaller grower experienced diminished yields and pulled out his vines. A limited grape supply means that 2007 marks the end of Navarro being able produce a Rhone style Syrah in all but tiny quantities. This dark beauty tastes of white pepper, plum, and leather with a rich, chocolate laden finish. There is nothing simple about the flavors and aromas of this multifaceted red. Gold Medal winner. Best of Show.