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. 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: 2017 marked a departure from the drought vintages of prior years. We received above average rainfall in all of our vineyards. As we don't irrigate our estate vineyard, these rains provided ample groundwater for the entire growing season. The rains ended in time for flowering to proceed without impact and most vineyards set substantial crops. Bud break came a bit later than prior years, but the vines soon caught up with hot and sunny weather only occasionally interrupted by foggy mornings. We never had enough heat to stress the vineyards and were able to harvest at ideal ripeness.
Wine Notes: This vintage of Rattlesnake Rock was fermented with 50% whole clusters and we definitely like the results of our movement towards more whole cluster in our Syrah. We co-fermented Viognier in a couple of the fermentations with the final blend including 2% Viognier. This is also the first vintage of Rattlesnake Rock Syrah that did not include any new oak barrels. The one we used was selected for a forthcoming Frenchies release.
This wine possesses a nose that expresses the full dimension of Syrah with a brooding quality, floral essence, wild berry fruit, and savory spice. On the palate, it is all echoed beautifully and with intensity. The texture is fine and the tannins wrap around the tongue and carry the spicy fruit long. With air cigar box, inky notes mingled with wild berry fruit and plums and hints of cardamon, and sandalwood giving it an exotic flair. With two more hours, the wild berry fruit and lavender notes become more pronounced. Delicious now, we would expect this vintage to age gracefully for 20+ years, and really start expressing it's potential in another 2-3 years.
Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast. 91 Points