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Fife Syrah, Mendocino 2002

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    A dream begins to become reality TIn the mid -1980s Karen and I became fascinated with the wines of France’s Rhône Valley. This was the beginning of what has become a life-long quest to learn everything we can about the region and its wines—and to use this knowledge to develop great wines in California. Perhaps our most profound conclusion about Syrah has been how terroir-driven it is. It truly needs to be planted on a very well drained site. In our home Napa Valley, it has been difficult to tie up an appropriate site for growing great Syrah. Why not plant (in warmer sites) the higher image, more profitable Cabernet Sauvignon? Why not plant (in the cooler sites) the higher image and more profitable Pinot Noir? In 1996 when we purchased our small Mendocino County winery (The Redhead Vineyard) we finally had access to perfect sites for growing Syrah. We have found ideal sites both in the mountains and in gravel streaks in the valley that are incredible for growing Syrah. We now have four such sites planted with Syrah. The first site was planted in 1990 and the fourth planted in 1998 so our program is just beginning. We believe the results to date point to a great future. This wine is a blend of the four vineyards. We think it is one of the most intriguing, personality driven wines we’ve made. (Note: Look for our single vineyard wines from these vineyards as they are released over the next three years. The first of these, our Old Yokayo Rancho Vineyard Syrah, is now on the market in small quantities.) About the Harvest The 2000 winter was mild with very scant rainfall followed by an almost imperceptible spring transition into summer. Rains during bloom affected yields for most black grapes in our Mendocino foothill vineyards resulting in smaller but richly flavored fruit. Syrah especially benefited from scant yield and compensated by affording us rich “black fruit” color, flavors, and tannin. The Gentle Art of Winemaking Syrah from a great site is a joy to vinify. Our winemaking philosophy is simple: obtain syrah with personality, handle it minimally, and focus on blending different lots to bring out nuance and character. In the Mendocino hillside vineyards nature creates the flavors that translate into powerful, complex wines. All that’s left to do in the winemaking process is to age and blend to assure balance and to bring out elegance, texture, and length. This first offering of our Mendocino Syrah was bottled on June 5, 2002. Tasting Notes Fife Vineyards’ Mendocino Syrah is a sumptuous mingling of dark chocolate, spices, and black fruits, laced with an almost primordial sense of rich earthiness. Pair with a wide range of grilled or roasted meats and vegetables. As in the Rhône, game and mushrooms, sausage and olives, cassoulet, and other savory foods work exceeding well. Dennis and Karen Fife Download Printable Version

    Posted by thewinery on January 2nd, 2009 at 10:39pm | report comment

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