For our 2004 Saralee's Syrah we co-fermented a small amount of Viognier with the Syrah, a technique originally popularized in the Cote Rotie district of the Rhone Valley. The presence of this floral white grape tends to lift the bouquet of the Syrah and soften the mouthfeel. This 2004 is textbook cool-climate Syrah. The nose is bold, exotic and packed with ripe plums and white pepper. The flavors are intense, ripe and well structured with beautifully balanced tannins. It is deep, firm, spicy and complex.
Syrah is one of the few grapes capable of producing world-class wines from both warm and cool climates. When grown in cooler appellations, Syrah responds with elegance, structure, earth and pepper. Saralee's Vineyard, located in the Russian River Valley, is our favorite site in Sonoma for cool-climate Syrah.
Richard Arrowood's love affair with Rhone grapes started in 1994, when he produced the first Syrah from Srarlee's Vineyard. Since then his repertoire has expanded to include: Grenache, Mouvedre, Viognier, Marsanne and Rousanne. Arrowood currently produces seven different wines based on Rhone varieties: three Vineyard Designated Syrahs, a Viognier, a Rose, and two Rhone blends called Cote de Lune Blanc and Rouge.
The 2004 vintage was perfect for Russian River Syrah. The growing season opened with a heat wave in the first half of March triggering an early bloom. The remainder of the year was marked by the customary warm days, cool nights and morning fog.