Monday, May 13, 2024

Radio Coteau Sonoma Coast Los Colinas Syrah 2019

Radio Coteau Sonoma Coast Los Colinas Syrah 2019

For casual mid-week sipping some wine with a cheese plate and fresh fruit, I pulled from the cellar this recently acquired Sonoma Coast Syrah. We love big round concentrated fruit forward wines. I picked up a six pack of this label and wanted to try it to see its tasting profile and determine what my cellaring aging plan should be. 

Radio-Coteau Las Colinas Syrah

The moniker Radio-Coteau (rā’ dē ō – kō tō’) is a French colloquial expression suggesting “word of mouth” , which literally translated means “broadcasting from the hillside”. Ironically, the origin of use of the term is from the French Northern Rhone wine region. The odd name is reminiscent of one of our favorite producer, Vieux Telegraph, ironically from the Rhône River Valley, but deriving its name for a different historical reason

Originally named Joseph Morelli & Sons before Prohibition, the Lemorel winery (as it was later known) dates back to 1892, when the first vines were planted. The current owners acquired the  Radio-Coteau historic 42-acre Estate vineyard and ranch located on a ridgetop above the town of Occidental in 2012. 

Eric Sussman is winegrower and proprietor of the the property going back to the early 2000s. While scouting vineyard sites for the first Radio-Coteau vintage, he met and began a relationship with Robert Von Weidlich, the owner of the property at that time. The 2002 Radio-Coteau Von Weidlich Zinfandel was the first product of that collaboration.

Eric, a New York State native, developed his passion for winegrowing while studying agriculture at Cornell University. After spending several years in Washington’s Yakima Valley, he worked in France as an apprentice working the 1995 vintage in Bordeaux at Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Pauillac, and 1996 in Burgundy at Domaine Comte Armand of Pommard and Domaine Jacques Prieur of Meursault. There he gained respect and appreciation for the intrinsic connection between land, people and the wine they produce.

Returning to the US, he spent a year at Bonny Doon Winery in Santa Cruz, before settling in Western Sonoma County where he spent four years as the associate winemaker for Dehlinger.

Eric established Radio-Coteau in 2002, focusing on the north coast vineyards of western Sonoma County and the Anderson Valley. 

The estate lies ten miles from the ocean on a ridgetop above Occidental, situated 800 feet above sea level, the property is a diverse agroecosystem, or terroir, with beneficial Goldridge soil.  The benchland location
is comprised of the fine sandy loam Goldridge soil, remnants of an ancient seabed, which provides excellent drainage and moderate fertility.

As part of the Sonoma Coast AVA, the site borders the Green Valley and Russian River Valley AVAs. The area experiences moderate rainfall seasonally through the winter months, and overall cool, coastal climate due to the marine air and fog, which provides for extended ripening and good flavor development in the grapes. 

Radio-Coteau has established blocks of Syrah and old-vine Zinfandel, and recently replanted existing acreage to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. The estate has three vineyards.  

Radio-Coteau Las Colinas Sonoma Coast Syrah 2019

This Las Colinas Syrah is a single vineyard designated label showcasing the cool-climate site, the essence of the western Sonoma Coast appellation Las Colinas vineyard.

Winemaker notes for this release - “Medium garnet in color with an alluring ruby core, the 2019 Las Colinas Syrah fills the glass with fresh blueberry and crushed violet notes interwoven with hints of sweet clove, earthy sous bois, and dried bay leaf. Gliding tannins seamlessly pull together bright traces of huckleberry and spicy black peppercorn, leading into a long and compelling finish.”

There is similarity to the following release which is worth noting. 

Winemaker notes for the 2020 vintage release - “The 2020 Las Colinas Sonoma Coast Syrah opens with darker fruit notes of boysenberry, blueberry, and black cherry that charmingly balance a seductive underlying sauvage character. A sweet whisper of smoked cherry wood bacon follows the fruit, alongside hints of leather, espresso, and black olives. Slightly dusty, chewy tannins complement a lively acid backbone, making the 2020 Las Colinas ready for immediate enjoyment while also poised for graceful aging.”

Our experience tasting with this wine is expressed perfectly by fellow Cellartracker KINGSLEYZISSOU 93 Points who like the wine and rated it 93 points. He wrote “I may have opened this a touch too early, but delicious regardless and a great example of Radio-Coteau’s more old world sensibility. The nose shows incredible concentration of rustic, savory fruit, notably lush black olive, dried tomato with considerable spice underlining it — herbs de Provence and black pepper. Consider cellaring this for another 2 years at least — needs some more time to develop the tertiary complexity it’s capable of.”

We gave it 92 points, but that reflects personal taste perhaps and I don’t disagree with his rating at 93 fore those that prefer the old world style. 

Antonio Galloni of Vinous gave it 91 points.