John Lewis Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
The John Lewis Syrah is always a love/hate wine for us. It’s always extremely exciting, as we have the opportunity to share a wine we truly love. We hate it because the quantities are extremely small and this is a wine we want to share with everyone. The 2012 vintage, however, offers great news. First, it is an absolutely classic vintage. If a winemaker didn’t excel in 2012, well, there always… (insert other profession here). As we have said before, it is a vintage that will drink well in both the short and long term. Second, we were able to produce more John Lewis in 2012 than any other vintage, without making any compromises. It’s still a mere 185 cases, but far more than the scant 90 from the 2011 vintage or the 50 from the 2008 vintage.
Its interesting to me that as I read last year’s John Lewis release letter, I began with “the 2011 vintage was the year for the Rocks area of Walla Walla.” The 2012 John Lewis could not be more different. 2012 is about hillsides. So, we return to the classic vineyard for John Lewis – Les Collines and the steep Block 46. While this block always finds its way into the blend each year, it was also the major block for the 2006, 2007, and 2009 John Lewis blends. So it means intense perfume over meaty funk. More elegant than muscular. Cote Rotie vs Hermitage. (Yeah, I name dropped.)
Our winemaking formula remains consistent: harvest early, ferment slowly in open top fermenters, stems, and leave it in a puncheon for 18 months.
The 2012 John Lewis is pure Syrah elegance. Right now, its all about the nose – raspberry, blueberry, sweet cherry, violet, white flowers, Asian spice, smoked meat, pepper, tobacco, slight vanilla. Its a bit more sour on palate, dominated by red fruits and a bit of stem. Both the acid and tannin are firm. Super long finish. Maybe the most Old World on the palate to date.
|VINEYARDS:||Les Collines (Walla Walla Valley)SJR (Walla Walla Valley)Red Willow (Columbia Valley)|
|AGING:||100% French Oak Barrels, 18% New Oak|