Antiqv2s Syrah Pisoni

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Antiqv2s Syrah Pisoni

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Winemaker Notes
Sometimes I think that the great red hope for the Santa Lucia Highlands- or any of the cooler wine growing districts in California- is not Pinot Noir but rather Syrah. It ripens quite late, usually a month or more after the Pinot Noir. At that point in the year, Gary and Mark Pisoni, who farm this vineyard, are not so busy with harvest and will often walk the rows with our winemaker, Byron Kosuge, chewing on berries. And because they are not so busy, the Syrah gets the full, white hot glare of their attention and is watched over more intensely, if that’s possible, than the Pinot. In most years, excess clusters and even wings (Syrah often has multi-lobed clusters, and the clusters that grow out from the main clusters are called wings) are thinned off. It goes into the tank with a large dollop of whole bunches- fully 40% of the clusters go directly into the tank, without de-stemming. After a long, cold soak- it’s cold in the cellar by that time these grapes come into the winery, we finally heat the tank to get the fermentation going. After that, the Syrah is treated similarly to the Pinot Noir, except we punch it down less and pump it even more, in order to avoid over-extracting it, especially with all those stems in there. We don’t use a lot of new oak on the Syrah. I have heard all manner of descriptors for this wine, ranging from sweet corn to barbecue (more Southern style than Texas style, I think!) to “Cote-Rotie meets California”. I guess that means there’s a lot going on in the glass. 

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