Sunday, March 5, 2023

Ramey Sonoma County Syrah

Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah with Sunday Night Pizza
Sunday night, pizza night ... I picked up this recent vintage Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017 for the occasion. 
This is from David Ramey, best known for his work with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, so I was intrigued to find this Syrah from such a notable winemaker/producer and an area becoming known for Syrah. 
David Ramey spent his early career creating benchmark wines for such wineries as Matanzas Creek, Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd leading up to he and his wife Carla founding Ramey Wine Cellars in 1996. They have been producing critically acclaimed, award-winning wines ever since, committed to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay as their primary varietals, and, I now see, Syrah.

This Sonoma Coast Syrah is grown on the cooler, western slopes of Sonoma Mountain, sourced from the Rodgers Creek Vineyard that was planted to Ramey’s specifications to take advantage of the cool Pacific winds blowing through the famed Petaluma Gap. This is combined with grapes from the Cole Creek Vineyard in the warmer Russian River Valley. The 2017 vintage is comprised of 50% Cole Creek Vineyard and 50% Rodgers Creek Vineyard, combining terroir of Cole Creek's very gravelly Felta clay loam and Rodgers Creek's volcanic Kidd series gravelly loam.

We toured the area during our Sonoma County Wine Experience back in 2017 and have since collected some other big Syrahs from the area, also known for full hearty cool climate Chardonnays.

Interesting that Ramey captures the style and elegance of Northern Rhone Syrahs, all the while showing the bright ripeness that comes from California - he's crafted a wine that taste like top-flight Hermitage or Cornas from a top-flight vintage, at a fraction of the price.

Like wines produced in the Cote-Rotie, Ramey co-ferments this Syrah with 5% Viognier. The addition of this aromatic white grape adds a floral perfume to the wine, increasing the already seductive powers of the wine! A third of the wine is aged in new oak, with the remainder only used oak, adding a touch of spice and vanilla to the oak tones. 

Ramey Sonoma Coast Syrah 2017

This is an incredibly aromatic Syrah with aromas of wild flowers and herbs, couple with cracked black pepper and blackberries. These characteristics carry over into the flavors, showing the savory side of Syrah, with lots of dark, ripe, black fruit. 

This is a blend of 89% Syrah  co-fermented with 11% Viognier, then aged sur lies for 19 months in 70% new French barrels from François Frères and Demptos.

Winemaker Notes: "The 2017 Syrah Sonoma Coast has a medium purple/ruby hue as well as classic Syrah gaminess and pepperiness. With lots of blackberry fruit, some ground herb, bacon fat, and olive notes as well as medium to full-bodied richness on the palate, it's already drinking nicely and has a supple, approachable style."

This release was awarded 95 points by Virginia Boone of Wine Enthusiast, 93 Points by Wine Advocate, 92 Points  by Wine Spectator and Jeb Dunnuck.

This is the big bold forward concentrated style that we love in a Syrah - ideal for bbq, smoked meats or tangy pizza, such as tonight. 

Medium purple/garnet colored, medium to full-bodied, tightly structured, concentrated full and round blackberry, black currant and blueberry fruits complemented with notes of pepper, bacon fat, black olive and garrigue with floral notes turning to fine grained tannins on a full lingering finish.

RM 92 points.