Saturday, November 20, 2010

2005 California Syrah of Piedrasassi

Piedrasassi is one of hundreds of smaller artisan wineries in California. The story is the same whereever you find a wine company like it - passionate and skilled winemakers with no vineyards of their own, instead contracts or a friendly handshake to buy premium grapes from selected vineyards. Also, they work in small warehouses where they have installed their own equipment and where they store their oak barrels. I’ve been to more than a hundred “wineries” like that in California, and Piedrasassi is just one of them.
Behind the doors to this winemaking facility you’ll find Peter Hunken and Sashi Moorman, the latter a quite well known guy in Santa Barbara wine country. Sashi was once the assistant winemaker of Adam Tolmach at Ojai Vineyards, and have been making the wines at Stolpman Vineyards for some years now. He also made two vintages at Bonnacorsi after Mike Bonnacorsi passed away. He is now also involved in the Parr Selection wines, made for top restaurants like Michael Mina and Per Se, as well as Evening Land Vineyards, a joint venture with Dominique Lafon of Meursault in Burgundy.
What I like with the wines of Piedrasassi, is the way Sashi Moorman manage to balance power with finesse.

2005 California Syrah / 92 p
One thing that’s great with Central Coast is that some awesome wines quite often come with a very nice price. This is certainly the case with this wine, and the wines of Piedrasassi. Here, in this 100 percent Syrah sourced from the very fine vineyard Purisima Mountain Vineyard and the even more fantastic White Hawk Vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Although it spent almost three years in new French oak barrels (a quite recent trend in California, especially at wine estates that aims very high), the oak is extremely well integrated. The reason is that the body is so packed with dark and ripe fruit that the oak is almost totally absorbed. On the palate the oak is a bit more present (as a slight youthful bitterness), but it is the dark and ripe but still fresh blackberry and blueberry fruit that dominates the taste. Tannins are youthful and relatively firm, but well balanced by the fruit and well integrated in the body. Although decanted for a few hours, the youthful primary fruit flavors stayed, which indicates that this wine will keep for many years in the cellar. At this stage, decanting is recommended.
Drink it 2010-2022.

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