By now, most of our club members are probably familiar with Bayard Fox and his winemaking skills. His wines are some of our club's most popular offerings, typically selling out in record times. That is why we were so excited when Bayard came to us with a new vineyard and a new Syrah: Renard Kick Ranch Syrah 2005.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, Bayard Fox is one part barrel broker, one part artisanal winemaker, and one part vineyard sleuth. After a brief assistant winemaking stint at Newton in the early 1990s, Fox reluctantly left winemaking to take on the brokerage of one of France's top barrel making firms, Tonnelerie Saury. Paradoxically, it was in leaving winemaking and joining Saury that Fox was able to lay the groundwork for the brilliant wines now being produced at Renard.
As Saury sells barrels to every top winemaker in France, Fox wasted no time in working his way into the cellars of the world's greatest Syrah and Grenache producers; Jean-Louis Chave (Hermitage), Rene Rostaing (Cote Rotie), Alain Voge (Cornas), and the Perrin family at Beaucastel in Chateuneuf-du-Pape. At the same time, while marketing Saury barrels in California, Fox was meeting dozens of small California growers who were developing spectacular parcels of Syrah. The combination of the cellar experience in France and the small vineyard discoveries in Napa and Sonoma, offered Fox a unique opportunity to source fabulous fruit and apply the winemaking methods of the masters.
Bayard views Syrah as an extremely versatile grape, capable of portraying a wide range of personalities from big and luscious to elegant and refined. This individuality comes from the unique characteristics of each vineyard. Kick Ranch sits high upon the steep hillside and commands an impressive view of the Petaluma Gap. The frequent fog in the area creates a cool climate ideal for the classic proportions of a true Rhone-style Syrah.
This wine beautifully expresses the spicier side of Syrah with aromatics of white pepper, tar, and cassis colliding into a coherent whole. The texture is dense and rich with dark fruit and spice highlighting an expansive palate. The finish is long and dense.
The unique character of this Syrah lends itself to food pairings with a lot of personality. Try with something unusual like marinated pork tenderloin and grilled eggplant with a cilantro salsa and mashed yams.