Zaca Mesa Eight Barrel Syrah 2017
Linda grilled a pizza on the deck and wanted a big bold Syrah for a 'pizza' wine. I pulled from the cellar this Santa Ynez Valley Syrah we discovered, tasted and acquired during our Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards Visit during our Santa Barbara County Wine Experience earlier this spring. We received this as part of our inaugural wine club shipment of a select mixed case from our visit.
Eight Barrel Syrah derives its name from an anomalous practice employed during its first vintage back in 1993. As part of an experiment from the inquisitive nature of then winemaker, Daniel Gehrs, rather than crushing the grapes, allowing fermentation, pressing the grape skins and stems – or pomace – to extract all juice, and then moving the wine into barrel for aging, that Eight Barrel Syrah was crafted by first allowing the wine juice to freely run out of the fermentation tanks off the grape skins and stems without pressing the pomace to release trapped wine. He then allowed the remaining trapped juice to slowly drain overnight into a separate collection, gradually extracting deep color and flavor from the grape skins. The collected volume of wine from that first vintage filled just eight barrels, and so it was christened “Eight Barrel”, a new and distinct bottling of Syrah.
That wine’s opulent style created somewhat of a cult following that grew each year, the demand quickly and vastly exceeding a mere eight barrels. Hence, they no longer limit production to just eight barrels of the label. They do retain the branding in remembrance of the eight barrels of wine that started the tradition. Eight Barrel today, is one of our Zaca Mesa's most sought after wines, which they work to craft a more hedonistic style to round out their portfolio of Syrah offerings.