Although the Rossi Ranch has proven to be a great site for Zinfandel for over 100 years (as discussed with the Zinfandel release) I wonder if in years to come we might see the Rossi Ranch Syrah wines rival what it’s Zinfandel has accomplished. Certainly the wines I’ve made since 2009 make me think so. It’s the “Cornas” to my Griffin’s Lair “St. Joseph”, if you will allow the Rhone Valley comparison. What I mean is that the Rossi Syrah has a more floral-violet note rather than the pepper of cool climate Syrah and has an underlying tannic structure that almost guarantees great cellaring. This means a wine of power even though it still retains elegance, but is probably better suited to meals with more richness.
I think that the concentration and tannic nature of the Rossi wines is related to the climate and soil but can also be seen in the vines themselves. My Syrah from Rossi comes from the red soils and the vines are naturally limited due to soil and water so that we get very small berries, low yields and a smaller vine that seems naturally balanced. These vines stop growth early in the season with just enough leaves to ripen a small crop and then all remaining energy goes into the fruit and not into growing a bigger vine. The small leaves and lesser canopies lead to lots of sun and wind exposure and this leads to great colors (think of us getting a suntan) and intense flavors.