Syrah. Nothing Worthwhile is Easy

April 13, 2017

I love Syrah and so did Thomas Jefferson (Happy Birthday Tom!). But why hasn’t Syrah captured more of a share of the red wine market? 

Like anything, economics of production dictate availability and therefore dictate popularity. A wine grape like Cabernet Sauvignon grows easily in rich valley floor soils and can yield large amounts of reasonable quality grapes. In fact you can plant it pretty much anywhere and the resulting wine will likely be distinguishable as Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s easy to homogenize and produce en masse.

Syrah, on the other hand is more sensitive to its surroundings. Plant it in the west hills of Paso Robles, and you get a rich, fruit forward wine that also has structure and acid. The Edna Valley with its ocean fog, volcanic soils and long growing season yields Syrah with dark fruits, licorice and gentle tannins. Sonoma Coast, Cayucos and Ballard Canyon Syrahs each have unique profiles. Head to the great Syrah growing regions in France, Hermitage, Cornas and Cote Rotie, and again, each location is distinct.  While Syrah does not lend itself to production farming it is prized for just the opposite; small lots of unique, expressive wines that reflect their place of origin.  

2015 Villa Creek Syrah from Slide Hill Vineyard in Edna Valley is available to wine club and current allocation list members online until April 17th. Log-in to view and purchase your allocation. If you did not receive an allocation, your membership has lapsed due to inactivity. Click here to get on the allocation waitlist.

The MAHA Estate Vineyard is currently planted in Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Petite Sirah and Clairette. Our young Syrah nursery (pictured below) was started with cuttings from a neighboring vineyard. We hope to plant these own rooted Syrah vines at the top of the hill next fall. ~JoAnn