2016 Tierra Alta Syrah
Tierra Alta Vineyard is a dramatically steep site that is full of chalky white limestone. The limestone adds beneficial nutrients to the vines but also holds some moisture in the dryer times and offers good drainage when it rains.
The wide variation between the tops and bottoms of the slopes contribute to the energy in the wine. Richness and power from lean soils at the top of the hill; juiciness, and freshness from the heavier solids at the bottoms. This dynamism also plays out in the micro-climate of the area.
Tierra Alta is perched at the northern end of Ballard Canyon. The fog pushes and pulls against it almost every day during the growing season - filling up the canyon in the morning and emptying out in the evening. Ballard Canyon has carved a niche among the world’s greatest Syrah producing regions. The Syrahs rest in the middle of the grape’s stylistic range, richly textured, while maintaining vibrancy and freshness.
Tierra Alta has been the backbone of my Syrah program since my start in 2007. Every year I have refined my approach to the different blocks and clones. I’ve tinkered with various percentages of stem inclusion, harvest ripeness and fermentation regime.
The 2016 Tierra Alta Syrah is a wine that is powerful and explosive but always in balance. The nose is an explosion of dark fruit, game, and savory notes. The flavors are classic syrah with dark berry, smoke, iron, olive, black pepper and minty note on the finish. The tannins are present but not overpowering and will integrate over the next few years. This wine will last 10+ years and will be drinking best in about five.