Finds from the Vine: 2007 Drew Family Syrah from Valenti Vineyard
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” January is here ” forget Champagne, whites, and light reds. It is time for big, dark, voluptuous wines. The 2005 Drew Family Syrah, from the Valenti Vineyard in the Anderson Valley, fits the bill. The aromas portend the flavors of the wine, with heady plum, tobacco and black cherry issuing from the glass. A light herbal/mint taste, and rich cigar and earth follow on the palate, with a dark, lightly chewy, tannic finish. Not too oakey, not too ripe, the Drew Family Syrah Valenti Vineyard is balanced and almost elegant, in a big, dark way. Drink this to stay warm on these upcoming cold nights, or try it with beef stew, grilled duck, lamb or a big ol’ steak.
The Valenti Vineyard is up on a ridge above the valley floor, at an altitude of 1,300 feet. This lends it to cooling Pacific Ocean breezes, but also places it above the fog-line of the valley. All this gives the Syrah a lovely balance, even elegance, and accounts for the clean acidity of the wine. The Valenti Vineyard yields a paltry 1.2 tons of grapes per acre, giving the Syrah dark and concentrated flavors. Jason Drew, the owner and winemaker, ages the Syrah for 11 months in 2- to 3-year-old oak barrel, to round out the wine without adding huge oak flavors. Only 100 cases were produced!
Jason Drew, founder, proprietor and winemaker, produced all 380 cases of wine in his first vintage for Drew Family Cellars in 2001. With his wife, Molly, as assistant winemaker and all-around administrator, Jason sourced fruit from all over California and made the wine in leased space in Santa Barbara County. In 2004, they purchased the current winery property in Anderson Valley and began to concentrate on this region. Not surprisingly, the Drew Family Pinot Noirs are also very nice, but this Syrah may show the future for the grape in this cool region. The 2007 Drew Family Valenti Vineyard Syrah is $35.