Winemakers know that earth and air must work together if they are to produce distinguished wine. The effects of a hard frost or of plentiful sun are easy to see in the vineyard; less visible, but no less crucial, the role soil composition plays in grape growing. Our 2015 release from Garys’ Vineyard, where Pinot Noir and Syrah grapes reside side-by-side, suggests how happy the right marriage of soil and climate can be.
One of the most famous vineyards in California is home to two grapes.Lettie Teague, The Wall Street Journal
For close to four decades, the Pisoni family has worked in concert rather than competition with the land. That Wine Spectator featured their Lucia Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir amongst its top 100 wines and the San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Bonné praised their Lucia Garys’ Vineyard as “sublime”— “California Syrah at its best”—testifies to the superior quality of this single vineyard site.
Old-school farmers, they also continue to innovate. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay succeed in the rocky soils and wind-swept slopes of the highlands. But in 1999, Pisoni began growing Syrah alongside such Burgundian varietals. Some oenophiles might wonder at this novel practice, but the Pisonis do not let the dictates of popular opinion inform their earth-minded viticulture.
“Our vines have to work hard and we work hard right next to them, helping them face the foggy mornings and cold winds that rush down our valley every day,” Jeff explains. The Syrah at Garys’ Vineyard that is cultivated in partnership with Gary Franscioni, does well in decomposed granite and gravelly loam not unlike the soils of the Cote-Rotie and Cornas in the Rhône. In the highlands, where four-fifths of the acreage is planted in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and a mere 2.8% given over to Syrah, the cold climate makes for a riskier proposition when it comes to this varietal’s chances of fully ripening. The Pisonis’ own Syrah is as exceptional as is it serendipitous, coaxed into being by the family’s willingness to listen to what the long growing season enables. From the hardy soils and cool climate fostered by the Pacific Ocean, their Syrahs and Pinots mature slowly and steadily. The sumptuous results bear out the promise of this close alliance with the vines.
We hope you enjoy these two expressions of Garys’ Vineyard,
The Pisoni Family
Deep cranberry in hue, the 2015 Garys’ Vineyard Pinot Noir invites with hints of rose, raspberry, baking spice and vanilla bean that slowly open to an exuberant minerality. A velvety, intensely-concentrated mouthfeel with undertones of cacao leads into smooth, elegant tannins. Texture is the hallmark of this vintage, whose freshness and energy, tempered with gentle structure, allows for approachability in its youthful stages. Though weather brought us a small fruit set that ripened early the reward was excellent character and depth.
The inky purple-colored Garys’ 2015 Syrah possesses intense aromatics that seem to deepen its moody characteristics. Black fruits and savory herbaceous notes combine with a poised earthiness to fill the glass. Allow for additional aeration, and you’ll savor its beautiful balance of black cherry, peppercorns and leather. The early development of this Syrah on the vines allowed for more whole-cluster fermentation and greater complexity. Large, 132-gallon puncheon barrels have enhanced its focus and fostered slower aging in the cellar. A mouth-coating texture develops into a linear, refined finish with a bright measure of youthful acidity.