Vineyard and Region Information: Rattlesnake Rock was the first of our vineyard blocks to be planted in 2000. It consists primarily of an Alban Cote Rotie field selection with some other selections and clones, however, in 2016 only the Côte Rötie field selection lots were used in the blend. This exposed and often windy vineyard is located between 1300-1400 ft elevation with the steep South and South/West facing rows oriented North-South with 8x4 ft spacing. The soils are a high iron content shale and sandstone with shallow clay loam topsoil.
Vintage Notes: 2016 was a beautiful vintage - good yields, a moderate growing season and decent weather through harvest - that allowed us to nail the pick dates perfectly and make wines with minimal intervention.
Wine Notes: As the vines in the Rattlesnake Rock block get older, they seem to be producing darker and more brooding expressions of Syrah. We aged this wine exclusively in used 300 liter hogs heads French oak barrels. We are finding that we prefer little to no new oak with Syrah so that the purity of fruit is most emphatically expressed. We also upped the percentage of whole clusters used in the fermentations which lifts the aromatic profile while adding some structure to the wine.
We have found that Rattlesnake Rock Syrah takes longer than some of our other wines to unveil itself in bottle. Where 62 Terraces is savory with dark fruit, Rattlesnake Rock is spicy and floral with more abundant fruit present on the palate. it is intense and tightly wound with a big mid palate impact that finishes long. As is usually the case, Rattlesnake Rock needs time to unwind. With 24 hours of air, savory spice and roasted game notes emerge. And with air, it does begin to unwind on the palate, with intense plum, and wild berry flavors mingling with the savory spice. The finish sails on long after one swallows and begs one to take another sip. We would expect this wine to really start showing it's true colors with three plus years of bottle age, and it should age gracefully for another 10-20 years after that.
”From the home estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2016 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock is a firm, mineral-laced, yet concentrated and textured Syrah that's going to benefit from bottle age. Red and black fruits, spiced meat, bacon fat, and dried flower notes are just some of its nuances. A concentrated, classic mountain Syrah, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will cruise over the following decade.” Jeb Dunnuck. 94+ Points.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous. 94 Points. Alder Yarrow, JancisRobinson.com. 18/20 Points. Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast. 92 Points