2005 Hawks Butte Syrah
Varietal Blend: 100% Hawks Butte Syrah
Appellation: Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County
Harvest Date: September 29, 2005
Fermentation: Ten days, L2056 yeast
Oak Maturation: 22 months; 30% Artisan French oak barrels
Titratable Acidity: 0.65
Black ink. Rich with fresh blackberry, violets, pancetta, and
an underlying minerality. Elegant and well-balanced, this
artisan wine is reminiscent of the Northern Rhone Valley.
We make our syrah with grapes grown sustainably at 1,200
feet on the rocky south-facing slopes of our estate vineyard.
The grapes were harvested on September 29, 2005, and yielded just 2 tons
per acre from this vineyard. The small crop was due to 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 ten 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
under five tons of syrah grapes yielded 718 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.