Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

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TomHill
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Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#1 Post by TomHill » March 27th, 2020, 4:12 pm

Just got an e-mail from BruceNeyers (now Trinchero Family) in which he states (without supporting data) that Garys' is the coldest Syrah vnyd in Calif.
My guess would be (based on the taste of the wines) would be Stolo/Cambria. Or QueSyrah. Or Peay. Or Bassetti. Or Hudson/LasMadres. Or Ehren Jordan.
Anybody have any real hard facts??
I have no hard data but...hey... I'm a LosAlamos guy... we can come up with definitive conclusions based on zero data points!!
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#2 Post by Doug Schulman » March 27th, 2020, 4:17 pm

The wines I’ve had certainly don’t come across that way, but coldest can be defined several ways, and none of them tell the whole story. (What about sunlight, diurnal shift, temps as harvest approaches rather than looking at the whole season, etc. etc.?)

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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#3 Post by Doug Schulman » March 27th, 2020, 4:20 pm

A good example is how some Santa Rita Hills growers like to talk about how cool their climate is. Maybe Sea Smoke, Brewer-Clifton, and many others didn’t get the message.

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And...

#4 Post by TomHill » March 27th, 2020, 4:28 pm

And would suggest that Presidio/Melville and BienNacidio might be in that mix.
Degree-days might be the easiest measure.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#5 Post by Michael Martin » March 27th, 2020, 4:48 pm

Interesting topic. Based on taste alone, I some ideas, I would be curious to find out the correct answer.

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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#6 Post by Wes Barton » March 27th, 2020, 4:55 pm

McEvoy Ranch?

Then again, in 2011 I got Ascona Vyd. Syrah on the under-ripe side Nov.13th (before an extended rainstorm). It's got a very similar aspect as the Chaine d'Or Vineyard, which Stefania always picked in November and thought the coldest CS site in CA. Anyway, I'd be looking around the coast-side Santa Cruz Mountains for candidates.

Halcon is cool and really lags in ripening, so that's another good candidate to look at.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#7 Post by Carlton McCrindle » March 27th, 2020, 5:01 pm

Halcon Vineyards (Alturas)?

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Yup...

#8 Post by TomHill » March 27th, 2020, 5:04 pm

Yup, Wes. Forgot about McEvoyRanch.
Never had a Syrah from AsconaVnyd. Should I??
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Re: And...

#9 Post by George Chadwick » March 27th, 2020, 5:10 pm

TomHill wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 4:28 pm
And would suggest that Presidio/Melville and BienNacidio might be in that mix.
Degree-days might be the easiest measure.
Tom
For wine growing it's the only valid measure IMO. Not, for example, who has the coldest days. That's weather, not terroir.

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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#10 Post by Brian Tuite » March 27th, 2020, 5:52 pm

I would think Halcon Vineyard would trump them all. Paul could give us figures. It snows there regularly.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#11 Post by Will Clements » March 27th, 2020, 5:58 pm

Peay?

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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#12 Post by Marc Hauser » March 27th, 2020, 6:02 pm

What a weird claim.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#13 Post by Cris Whetstone » March 27th, 2020, 6:09 pm

Maybe John Cabot or Andrew Morris will see this thread. I think most of the Humboldt vineyards are up the valley far enough they wouldn't qualify. There might be something towards the coast though.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#14 Post by Nate Simon » March 27th, 2020, 6:13 pm

What exactly does “coldest” mean? Lowest single temp yearly? Lowest average? Most days below a certain temp? Could mean many things.
I would bet that some Sierra Foothills sites would be in the running, in any case.

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Re: Yup...

#15 Post by Wes Barton » March 27th, 2020, 6:38 pm

TomHill wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 5:04 pm
Yup, Wes. Forgot about McEvoyRanch.
Never had a Syrah from AsconaVnyd. Should I??
Tom
It goes to Madson, the '16 was the best carbonic maceration wine I've had. (That's Cole Thomas, pictured in the SCMV article.) Looks like the '18 is sold out. Maybe check K&L, since they've carried his wines. (The site has been down all day. Grrr...)

Didn't like the Martella Syrah from there, but his Sangios and SBs from there were the best CA examples I've had of those grapes. It's a great site. I was going to go back for grapes in '12, but Michael Martella bought everything - there's several more varieties. That was because it's on the ridge top above their (Fogarty's) Gist Vyd. Ken Swegles (The other young 'un in the SCMV article) took over managing and has some prestigious wineries sourcing various stuff and put in a big new block on a purdy steep slope.

From the Madson site:
Located at the summit of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ascona Vineyard has only 3 rows of Syrah planted. The Syrah is cooled by onshore winds, promoting a fresh acidity with low sugars at peak maturity.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#16 Post by Wes Barton » March 27th, 2020, 6:40 pm

Nate Simon wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 6:13 pm
What exactly does “coldest” mean? Lowest single temp yearly? Lowest average? Most days below a certain temp? Could mean many things.
I would bet that some Sierra Foothills sites would be in the running, in any case.
Probably degree-days.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#17 Post by Jeff_D » March 27th, 2020, 6:42 pm

Interesting thread. I am enjoying a 2015 Wilde Farm Halcon Syrah right now. Had some nicely aged Cabot recently too. And glad to get my hands on some Madson 2017 and 2018 Ascona Syrah - good stuff. I guess I like these cool climate wines or something. Thanks to all of you enablers here.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#18 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » March 27th, 2020, 6:56 pm

I was gonna guess halcon

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Well...

#19 Post by TomHill » March 27th, 2020, 7:02 pm

Nate Simon wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 6:13 pm
What exactly does “coldest” mean? Lowest single temp yearly? Lowest average? Most days below a certain temp? Could mean many things.
I would bet that some Sierra Foothills sites would be in the running, in any case.
Well, Nate...degree-days would be a first good start. And if one stands out on that basis, then good enough. But other factors (wind, sunlight, diurnial cycle) also play a role in producing that cracked black pepper/ c-c Syrah black olive tapenade character.
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And...

#20 Post by TomHill » March 27th, 2020, 7:05 pm

And.... after we define "coldest", we can bring all these brilliant minds to bear on the easy problem to define "natural"!!! :-)
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#21 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » March 27th, 2020, 7:14 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 5:52 pm
I would think Halcon Vineyard would trump them all. Paul could give us figures. It snows there regularly.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#22 Post by Paul Gordon » March 28th, 2020, 2:37 pm

Below are the 2018 temps. A generally average year with a rather cool May.

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Thanks...

#23 Post by TomHill » March 28th, 2020, 3:26 pm

Thanks for sharing that, Paul. Interesting how closely you track C-R.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#24 Post by Kris Patten » March 28th, 2020, 4:13 pm

Fort Ross-Seaview has to be on the cooler side where Failla makes a Syrah.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#25 Post by Jim Brennan » March 28th, 2020, 6:54 pm

What a cool thread. Thanks!

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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#26 Post by Ian Brand » March 29th, 2020, 10:22 am

It's definitely not Gary's. It's not even the coldest Syrah site in the SLH. Double L is a few miles north of Gary's and has a Syrah block.
Also not Ascona. It's a pretty cool site, produces excellent wines, and is definitely a site to watch (like the Madson team) but like most SCM vineyards, it is a high variance site, cold in cool years but hotter in warm years.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Clary Ranch. From speaking with Duncan, they pick at the bitter end of every season, and the wine almost never exceeds 12% alc. I believe it's way out by Bodega Bay.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#27 Post by Ken Zinns » March 29th, 2020, 11:03 am

Ian Brand wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 10:22 am
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Clary Ranch. From speaking with Duncan, they pick at the bitter end of every season, and the wine almost never exceeds 12% alc. I believe it's way out by Bodega Bay.
Good mention on Clary Ranch, Ian - definitely a cool, windy site. It's not nearly as far west as the Bodega Bay area, though - probably 10-12 miles east of there and about 5 miles west of Petaluma in the Petaluma Gap region. [edit - it's actually about 11 miles from Tomales Bay. Bodega Bay is a bit farther north up the coast.]
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Yup....

#28 Post by TomHill » March 29th, 2020, 11:09 am

Ian Brand wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 10:22 am
It's definitely not Gary's. It's not even the coldest Syrah site in the SLH. Double L is a few miles north of Gary's and has a Syrah block.
Also not Ascona. It's a pretty cool site, produces excellent wines, and is definitely a site to watch (like the Madson team) but like most SCM vineyards, it is a high variance site, cold in cool years but hotter in warm years.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Clary Ranch. From speaking with Duncan, they pick at the bitter end of every season, and the wine almost never exceeds 12% alc. I believe it's way out by Bodega Bay.
Ian
Yup, Ian.
ClaryRanch would be a good candidate. On the western outskirts of Petaluma, not quite as close to the Ocean as McEvoyRanch, though.
But looks about the same distance from the Pacific as QueSyrah.
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Re: Yup....

#29 Post by Ken Zinns » March 29th, 2020, 12:44 pm

TomHill wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 11:09 am
Ian Brand wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 10:22 am
It's definitely not Gary's. It's not even the coldest Syrah site in the SLH. Double L is a few miles north of Gary's and has a Syrah block.
Also not Ascona. It's a pretty cool site, produces excellent wines, and is definitely a site to watch (like the Madson team) but like most SCM vineyards, it is a high variance site, cold in cool years but hotter in warm years.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Clary Ranch. From speaking with Duncan, they pick at the bitter end of every season, and the wine almost never exceeds 12% alc. I believe it's way out by Bodega Bay.
Ian
Yup, Ian.
ClaryRanch would be a good candidate. On the western outskirts of Petaluma, not quite as close to the Ocean as McEvoyRanch, though.
But looks about the same distance from the Pacific as QueSyrah.
Tom
McEvoy Ranch is indeed a bit closer to Tomales Bay than Clary Ranch (about 9.5 miles vs. 11 miles) though Clary Ranch is certainly more exposed to the cool Petaluma Gap wind. Que Syrah Vineyard is only about 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean north of Point Reyes. Of course distance to the coast alone is not the only factor - elevation is a key factor as well. For example, a number of the vineyards in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA are fairly close to the ocean but at higher elevation, so they tend to be above the fogline. Many lower-elevation sites that are farther from the coast are often covered by fog in the mornings during the growing season.
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Re: Yup....

#30 Post by Stewart Johnson » March 29th, 2020, 1:06 pm

Ken Zinns wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 12:44 pm
TomHill wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 11:09 am
Ian Brand wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 10:22 am
It's definitely not Gary's. It's not even the coldest Syrah site in the SLH. Double L is a few miles north of Gary's and has a Syrah block.
Also not Ascona. It's a pretty cool site, produces excellent wines, and is definitely a site to watch (like the Madson team) but like most SCM vineyards, it is a high variance site, cold in cool years but hotter in warm years.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Clary Ranch. From speaking with Duncan, they pick at the bitter end of every season, and the wine almost never exceeds 12% alc. I believe it's way out by Bodega Bay.
Ian
Yup, Ian.
ClaryRanch would be a good candidate. On the western outskirts of Petaluma, not quite as close to the Ocean as McEvoyRanch, though.
But looks about the same distance from the Pacific as QueSyrah.
Tom
McEvoy Ranch is indeed a bit closer to Tomales Bay than Clary Ranch (about 9.5 miles vs. 11 miles) though Clary Ranch is certainly more exposed to the cool Petaluma Gap wind. Que Syrah Vineyard is only about 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean north of Point Reyes. Of course distance to the coast alone is not the only factor - elevation is a key factor as well. For example, a number of the vineyards in the Fort Ross-Seaview AVA are fairly close to the ocean but at higher elevation, so they tend to be above the fogline. Many lower-elevation sites that are farther from the coast are often covered by fog in the mornings during the growing season.
I agree that Clary would be colder than McEvoy. McEvoy is pretty near me, and we're both more sheltered by the hills. I think Clary is pretty exposed.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#31 Post by Evan Pontoriero » March 29th, 2020, 2:00 pm

McEvoy pulled a lot of their vines. Not sure if the Syrah was pulled, though. It is also protected by the hill to the coast. I would bet that Grand Vent/Clary Ranch is quite a bit colder based on it being more windswept. I remember Paul Clary mentioning that it was the coldest site when he was on the Gap board.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#32 Post by Ken Zinns » March 29th, 2020, 2:14 pm

Evan Pontoriero wrote:
March 29th, 2020, 2:00 pm
McEvoy pulled a lot of their vines. Not sure if the Syrah was pulled, though. It is also protected by the hill to the coast. I would bet that Grand Vent/Clary Ranch is quite a bit colder based on it being more windswept. I remember Paul Clary mentioning that it was the coldest site when he was on the Gap board.
Hadn’t heard about McEvoy Ranch pulling out vines - do you happen to know why?
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#33 Post by Stewart Johnson » March 29th, 2020, 4:57 pm

They pulled some from Azaya, in nearby Hick's Valley. I think that was a Pierce's issue, but I could be wrong. At the home ranch, they have done some grafting after finding that some of their initial choices wouldn't ripen, but I'm not aware of them pulling vines there.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#34 Post by Evan Pontoriero » March 29th, 2020, 5:33 pm

Yes the pulled a bunch of vines. If you look a the satellite it is now almost all olive trees, only two very small blocks now. Rhia told me a while ago
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#35 Post by Ken Zinns » March 29th, 2020, 5:46 pm

Wow, the satellite view tells the story. Hardly any vines left there - that's a shame. Olive oil is their primary business, but still...
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#36 Post by Wes Barton » March 29th, 2020, 7:04 pm

Bryan said they pulled a bunch of stuff out about 4 years ago. The Syrah still shows on Google Maps.

They got a ton of Falanghina through us in '18, since they were considering putting some in.
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Re: Coldest Syrah Vnyd in Calif??

#37 Post by Evan Pontoriero » March 29th, 2020, 7:18 pm

I think Rhia had some Montepulciano for sale last fall.
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