2004 Hawks Butte Syrah


Varietal Blend: 100% Hawks Butte Syrah
Appellation: Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County
Harvest Date: October 4, 2004
Brix: 26.3
Fermentation: Eight days, L2056 yeast
Oak Maturation: 22 months; 30% Artisan French oak barrels
Cases Produced: 350
pH: 3.70
Titratable acidity: 0.70
Alcohol: 14.2%

Tasting Notes

Iridescent purple.  Rich aromas of violets, fresh berries, and roasted meat.  A balanced mouthful of blackberry, plum and vanilla, with a hint of allspice.  Silky, smooth tannins round out the lasting finish.

The grapes were harvested on October 4, 2004, and yielded just 2 tons per acre from this young vineyard. The small crop was due to the young age of the vines and the difficult growing conditions on this hillside vineyard. The grape clusters were long and gracious and produced just 160 gallons of grape juice per ton of grapes, providing plenty of concentrated flavors in the finished wine.

We crushed the Syrah into one ton bins and cold soaked for 48 hours. After the must warmed to 50 degrees F, the bin was inoculated with L2056 cultured yeast. This strain is from the Rhone region in France and works well in Syrah to enhance the roasted meat and mineral quality of the grapes. Primary fermentation lasted for eight days, when we pressed the must into a small stainless steel tank. The wine was innoculated with Oennococcus Oeni cultures to start the secondary malolactic fermentation.

The wine settled for two days before being racked into barrels. Just over five tons of syrah grapes yielded 840 gallons of wine which aged in approximately 30% new French oak.  We used a combination of neutral barrels (old French) and new Artisan French barrels. We used Vicard and Remond with medium toast levels. Both barrel coopers use oak from the Allier forrest. The wine aged for 22 months in barrels.