Pomp + Power Syrah, Knights Valley, Sonoma County, CA, 2013 (650 cases)
Knights Valley is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are small parcels of Syrah that make deeply colored and powerfully scented wines with a flavor and texture that shockingly resembles France’s Saint-Joseph. The name “Pomp + Power” refers to a shade of purple that best describes the color of this wine as it touches the rim of a glass. 100% Syrah.
Knights Valley is one of Sonoma County’s most remote wine regions. It sits at the base of Mount Saint Helena between the northern border of Napa Valley and the southern end of Alexander Valley. It was named after Thomas B. Knight an immigrant from New England who purchased a large swath of land here in the 1850s and planted vineyards and orchards. Knights Valley’s tranquility and raw natural beauty brought the writer Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island) here in 1880 to spend his honeymoon. He and his new wife spent the summer in an abandoned mining camp.
Vineyard & Soils
Syrah vines are planted in neat rows 600 feet above sea level on the eastern side of Mount Saint Helena on an alluvial plain composed of volcanic soils. Long ago the landscape formed through a network of fissures and vents in the earth out of which escaped volcanic material forming deeply layered iron rich soils of decomposed lava and gravel.
The Syrah bunches are hand harvested and sorted prior to crush. The fruit then undergoes a seven-day cold maceration prior to fermentation. During fermentation there is a daily delestage, meaning the liquid is drained off the skins and then returned to the tank. This increases color and helps evenly distribute textures and flavors. Some seeds are strained out of the must during fermentation to soften tannins. Post-fermentation the wine is kept for one year in French oak barrels, 65% of which are new and 35% are in their second year.
Radiant purple in color with core aromas of ripe blackberries and plums over which pour out more exotic flavors of cassis, anise, vanilla and cinnamon. The wine’s lavish aroma is kept in check by the silky restraint of its texture. Few wines exhibit such a pleasant contrast in intensity between its smell and first sip. It is elegantly balanced combining a gentle freshness with just enough richness of fruit and tannins. This wine will change your impression of Syrah.