Sonoma Hillside Vineyards - Screwcap
In the Summer of 1996, just before I made my first wine under the Loxton label, I made the trip to the Northern Rhone. This is the home for the Syrah grape and I just needed to see it. The terraces were hand built in Roman times and have been farmed ever since and this was just the inspiration I needed to begin my own wine project. Amongst many fabulous memories was time spent tasting the wines with Gerard Jaboulet who told me that “Syrah must see the water”. I didn’t understand it at the time, but back in California I realized that what he meant was that Syrah must be planted on the hillsides. The soils are usually weaker and the slope allows the water to drain away. This makes for smaller vines with smaller berries and more concentrated wine. Here in California with dry soils it doesn’t have to be such an issue, but I’ve taken fruit from hillside vineyards for Syrah ever since.
This wine uses fruit from two of these vineyards. The base wine is Syrah from the Kick Ranch in Santa Rosa (78%) and this contributes soft tannins, round palate feel and cherry and herbal fruit notes. The balance of the wine is from the Rossi Ranch (20%) and this provided the power and structure with the remainder from here on the estate. While I want the wine to reflect the soil and climate of each vineyard, my commitment is always to make the best wine possible and in this case I felt that the blend was much better than the base wine.
As is usually the case with Kick Ranch Syrah, this is the softest of my Syrah wines, with red fruits and a long finish while the oak seems to have faded into the wine, perhaps adding to the sweetness of the middle palate. A wine to enjoy with almost any food and it should continue to be enjoyable for another 5 years.