2007 Bedrock Wine Company Syrah Kick Ranch Sonoma County

Bedrock Wine Company Syrah Kick Ranch Sonoma County Only savvy consumers have come to understand just how good West Coast Syrah can be. Why? Because there just aren't a lot of these sensational, purple-fruit beauties. And when you find them, they tend to be made by young winemakers who are putting out just a few barrels from a great site. Little by little, not only the top vineyards, but the top blocks within those vineyards are being sorted out. And when a great vineyard emerges, the young upstarts pounce on them, pushing up the price for the best fruit.

It's no wonder that Syrah masters from Pax Mahle to Paul Hobbs have jumped to get a few barrels from Kick Ranch. It lies in Rincon Valley, outside of Santa Rosa, where Spring Mountain descends steeply from the east. The site has great soils for Syrah -- light, gravelly, low-yielding -- and faces the southwest. Off in the distance is the famous Petaluma wind gap, bringing cooling breezes into this site virtually every afternoon.

And who's the hot young newcomer at Kick Ranch? Morgan Twain-Peterson (son of Ravenswood guru Joel Peterson), who is already making as much noise with two tiny bottlings of Syrah (just 5 barrels each!) as his father made 30 years ago with equally small batches of Zinfandel. When he began his Bedrock label in 2007, Morgan began claiming special parcels of extraordinary small vineyards for his own. When he toured us around those sites in 2008, it struck us how his young eye had spotted all the critical elements for great terroir: rocky hillsides but access to a cooling airflow.

When we first tasted this super-concentrated but terrifically lively Syrah in barrel, it had what all the best Syrahs have -- a certain "wound up" quality, with tremendous pent-up power and verve. We reserved our allocation (1/2 of the production!) eight months ago, with a promise from Morgan that he would hold the wine for us until this fall.

Winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson
Winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson
We called it right. This dense, muscled powerhouse now sings within a moment after opening, but just keeps unfolding in the glass, well into the second day. Layers of focused black fruit, with notes of baking spice, anise, and charcuterie, great persistence, nuances of white pepper -- this is what all great Syrah is. It catapults Morgan to the pinnacle of Syrah winemaking in California.

Tasting Notes
"Inky ruby. Pungent dark berries, cherry skin and Indian spices on the nose, with a strong undercurrent of smoke and minerals. Youthfully taut blackberry and cherry flavors flesh out with air and gain a sexy candied floral quality. Manages to be structured without coming across as hard, finishing with alluring sweetness and lingering floral notes. "
92 points -- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar