Today's Wine:

2012 Baker Lane Cuvee Syrah

2012 Baker Lane Cuvee Syrah Sonoma Coast


 
2012 Baker Lane Cuvee Syrah Buy it for a friend!
 
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Today's Wine Comments:
Cellarthief

"Made in small quantities, it’s an incredible value for the quality, a wine that will sing on the table, and becomes more complex in the glass,” says the Wine Enthusiast, adding a whopping 94-point score to this tiny-production Syrah from the former Wine Director of Chez Panisse and the husband of its acclaimed chef, Alice Waters!

Baker Lane Vineyards is situated in a little hidden valley not far from the center of Sebastopol. Part of what makes this location so ideal for grape growing is the north/south orientation of the valley and its vineyards, and the fact that the site is bathed in the perfect amount of afternoon sun during the growing season. This Syrah is made from 100% estate-grown fruit, and it comes as no surprise considering the Alice Waters/Chez Panisse link, this fruit was grown using organic/bio-dynamic practices only.

While this Syrah was aged for 17 months in wood, only 10% of the barrels were new in order to allow the amazingly vibrant, pure Syrah flavors and aromas to take center stage. Our Panel agreed, this was the juiciest, brightest red sampled this year—a wine so alive it practically leaps from the glass with peppery, brambly, wild berries and savory spice. It would make a crazily addictive pairing with turkey or game, though it’s so damn delicious it’s unlikely anyone will notice the food being served alongside it!


Reasons why we love it:

Syrah is still a relative newcomer to much of California’s wine country, with the possible exception of those Rhone Ranger AVAs in the Central Coast. The Sonoma Coast is proving itself as another, distinct region perfectly suited to growing amazing Syrah. And more specifically, the nutrient poor and sandy “Gold Ridge” soils that make up the majority of Bake Lane’s vineyard holdings provide just the right amount of drainage and nutritional balance for exquisite Syrah.

Baker Lane Vineyards is owned by Stephen Singer, husband of Alice Waters and longtime appreciator of fine wine and fine food. As Board Member and Wine Director for his wife’s ground-breaking Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, Singer has been a decades’ long proponent of natural, organic wines that “sing” of their unique terroir.

All of the fruit for this wine was harvested from our Estate Vineyard at Roadsend Farm on Baker Lane in Sebastopol. We are uncertified practitioners of organic/bio-dynamic agricultural practices.   The harvest included three different picks that took place between 10/14-22. All natural winemaking was the theme with no added enzymes or commercial yeasts. The wine spent 17 months in barrel, the majority of them being 400 L Kadar puncheons, of which 10% were new.

The commitment to sustainability at Baker Lane Vineyards is rooted in the fact that it is their home, but first and foremost they believe that it is simply the right thing to do. It started with their efforts in developing the vineyard. Their hillside site, with its Gold Ridge sandy loamy soil, has proven to be an exceptional vineyard location, but one that posed numerous environmental challenges. Creating an elaborate property-wide system of drains, a highly engineered sedimentation basin and carefully sequenced ground cover plantings are all integral parts of an effort to keep erosion out of the delicate riparian corridor below the Estate vineyard. This kind of resource management may seem extravagant but it doesn’t make sense that environmental stewardship (and the long-term and multi-faceted savings it avails) be done on the cheap.

They've taken the same approach with every aspect of their property, including their comprehensive solar installations, uses of recycled and sustainable materials, and not the least, the organic farming practices that they utilize in the vineyard and orchards. They believe that it is a privilege to have landed amidst the natural splendor of western Sonoma County, and that even as they have transformed much of their immediate landscape, it is their explicit responsibility to do so in a way that preserves for generations to come the sensitive natural balances that make it such a beautiful place.

Working with the vineyard of Sue and Stan Ramondo,  neighbors on Baker Lane, has also allowed expanding the sources of their fruit and the qualitative oversight of it. Their property, the only other significant vineyard on Baker Lane, is a scant quarter mile east of Baker Lane. They had tasted and admired several wines produced from Ramondo's fruit in the past, so they didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to work with their vineyard arose. They have approximately 4 acres of Pinot Noir, and 1.25 of Syrah, and both varietals excel at their site. In assuming agricultural responsibility for the vineyard, in particular working hard to control the yields, they've concluded that this is an outstanding addition to the Baker Lane portfolio.

Buffalo chili, chicken wings, lamb chops, and barbecue pizza are on the menu when we uncork this bottle. It's great for entertaining, for barbecues, and for pizza nights.

Wine Ratings

94 Points, Wine Enthusiast & "Editor's Choice"

92 Points, Vinous Media

94 Insider Points

Wine Reviews

"From the producer's estate vineyard, this savory, sultry wine is sublime in peppery, wild game. Its textures are alive and bright in acidity, with piquant black and red berry providing inviting juiciness. Made in small quantities, it's an incredible value for the quality, a wine that will sing on the table, and become more complex in the glass. Editors' Choice." -Wine Enthusiast, 94 Points

"The 2012 Syrah Sonoma Coast Cuvée is absolutely gorgeous. Black cherries, savory herbs, lavender, menthol, licorice, tar, clove and new leather meld together in a supple, radiant Syrah endowed with tons of pure appeal. Rose petal, mint and pomegranate notes add resonance on the finish. This supple, inviting Syrah is best enjoyed over the next few years, while the fruit remains vibrant." - Vinous Media, 92 Points

"100% organic and biodynamic estate grown Syrah. This will impress both California and Northern Rhone followers. The nose is reminiscent of a top-flight Hermitage Rouge with aromatics of white flowers, lavender and cracked blacked pepper. Textbook palate of black and blue fruit quickly lures you in. Layers of provencal herbs, pepper and cured meats follow through on the mid-palate. The finish is full, balanced and lingering. This is high-tone package with plenty of stuffing, but quite mouthwatering and aromatic. This is a seriously ridiculous price for the quality that lies in the glass. This will drink well and evolve over the next five years." - NM

 

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