The Originals block is not only our original planting, but it is the original Syrah block of Ballard Canyon. The two old California Sirene clones, Estrella River and Durrell Vineyard, were planted in 1992 and 1993. Sashi Moorman first separated these blocks into the designated “Originals” cuvee with the 2008 vintage. The low yields of these dry-farmed, mature vines give a rich concentration to the Originals Syrah. It’s quite easy to make rich Syrah in California. Green harvesting for low yields and leaving the grapes on the vine until they dehydrate somehow became the status quo over the past two decades. What separates the Originals Syrah from the pack is its combination of richness with brightness and freshness.
The 2013 Originals Syrah might be our most serious Syrah. The wine is constructed for old-world collectors and will excel over the next 2 decades, perhaps longer. Drought constricted yields in our oldest, dry-farmed blocks held their end of the bargain. Without the water to give us quantity, each vine gave us a few clusters of the utmost quality. The vines truly gave it their all. By the time we harvested, the stems were dehydrated. Lignified, the stems turned from sappy green to a dry, dark yellow shade.
AT THE WINERY
On the sorting table, we left most clusters intact for whole-cluster fermentation. All of the Syrah natively fermented in unsealed concrete, slowed to a gradual pace by natural cooling. We let this dream wine age entirely in neutral 500L puncheons, avoiding any sweet oak influence. Instead, the savory stems provide a firm backbone.
The dark core dives into lushness but is brought back with a chalky, savory finish. These old vines tell the story of a life spent rooting deep into solid Limestone through up-front, aggressive minerality. Perhaps the most savory Syrah we have ever made, this wine should be consumed over a long evening, allowing time to discover new complexities with every sip. A meditative process hopefully yielding revelation.
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