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Fall Release Hoppe-Kelly Vineyard Eddie's Patch Syrah

Winemaker’s Notes

Just as 2003 was a challenging Pinot Noir vintage, it was also the vintage that Syrah hit the big time. The long drawn-out Indian summer, which lasted a full four weeks, created ideal conditions for this later-ripening variety. The steep terrace that comprises Eddie's Patch luxuriated in mild autumnal sunshine and warmth, slowly ripening to perfection in mid October. This 100% organically farmed hillside is such a perfect place to grow world-class Syrah that any notion of winemaking trickery improving upon nature is misplaced. Reality is that we work the vines in a timely, sensitive manner all season in the anticipation of harvesting naturally breathtaking raw materials. 2003 clearly provided the finest fruit we have yet harvested from this site and the wine justifiably stands out in our 2003 portfolio as the wine of the vintage. The great natural balance of the vineyard was evident throughout the growing season. Canopy growth was healthy and steady, requiring little irrigation and minimal handwork. Shoot growth stopped naturally prior to veraison and berry/cluster size was moderate. The cooling coastal breeze, which sweeps down the hillside each afternoon prevented rapid sugar accumulation during the September heat spikes and allowed the steady maturation of skin tannin, sugar and flavor compounds. In the cellar we employed a mix of pumpover and punchdown extraction techniques and a long, cool fermentation and maceration lasting a month. The wine was aged in a mix of 50% new Burgundian and Bordelais oak and bottled slightly earlier than the norm, to highlight the great textural balance of the wine.

Deep purple-red color. Concentrated aromas of blackberry, dark licorice, minerals and tapenade. The palate possesses huge density but also harmony and integration of all components. Seductive cassis liqueur, graphite, flowers and deeper brooding bitter chocolate and tar. The mid palate texture currently dominates the back end of the wine with a lush, layered mouthfeel and dense sweet tannins on a long finish which builds effortlessly. A more concentrated version of the 2001 Eddie's Patch, I expect the 2003 bottling to be our longest lived effort so far and recommend aging for up to ten years. Decant for a couple of hours in its youth.

Andy Smith

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Harvest Date

October 16th


Russian River Valley


877 and 7 on 3309 rootstock

Age of Vines at Harvest

7 years

Barrel Aging

Aged 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new from Tonnelleries Remond & Sylvain


379 cases of 750mL
18 cases of 1.5L
12 bottles of 3L