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Spring Release Russian River Valley Syrah

Winemaker’s Notes

The 2011 Syrah harvest was not without its challenges: late spring rain, mid-summer rain, early fall rain, low yields, moderate grape sugars and a compact six day harvest – all very un-Californian! The fruit required Herculean sorting in the vineyard and then gentle extraction in the cellar. Yet despite all this, with some patience, something of beauty can emerge if you allow the wine to follow its own time line, don’t impose too much ‘technique’, and most importantly, trust your vineyards. Our 2011 RRV Syrah is a mediumbodied, elegant bottling that offers something different each time you return to the glass. It’s a wonderfully harmonious and integrated wine – the varying fruit, barrel and structural components are all on the same delicious wavelength. It features a great deal of ‘non-fruit complexity’ as it’s the savory components that lead the way: mixed peppercorns, wild herbs, spring flowers and bay leaf. It reminds me most closely of our 2005 RRV bottling, which has matured into a refined beauty and there’s no reason to suspect this wine won’t follow a similar track. I particularly like the ripe, plush – almost ‘pillowy’ – tannins that envelop the finish. The wine will gain in depth and complexity with five to seven years in bottle, so there’s no urgency to drink it up.

Brilliant dark ruby color. Immediate complexity of sweet and savory aromas – white and black pepper, cassis and blue fruits, dried Provencal herbs, smoked meat, balsamic and floral notes. Forward, soft ripe fruit on the palate, juicy and plush. Blueberry and boysenberry then savory notes take hold – tapenade, soy, graphite, thyme and lavender. Long and expanding finish. Decant for an hour in its youth and drink between 2014 and 2020.

Andy Smith

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48% Greywacke Vineyard

27% DuMOL GVR Estate

25% Hoppe-Kelly Vineyard

Harvest Date

October 16th through 21st


Russian River Valley


7, 877, Estrella and Alban

Age of Vines at Harvest

15 years

Barrel Aging

Native yeast and malolactic fermentations then aged 17 months in French oak hogsheads, 37% new


704 cases of 750mL
16 cases of 1.5L
10 bottles of 3L