TN: 2006 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch

  • 2006 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (5/6/2008)

    Popped and poured - and it roared. Right from the gate, the nose pumped out a redolent combination of spring blossoms and macerated blueberries. One of those wines that you just can't help sticking your nose in the glass every 15 seconds to breathe in softly and deeply. (Highly recommended decompression technique after a stressful day at work, BTW). On the attack, a game of hide and seek ensues, with a dynamic and intense core of blackberry fruit careening around all corners of your mouth but never standing still enough to reveal its full splendor. Hints of black pepper and hickory smoke in the background. Finishes with a tongue-tightening grip that is reminiscent of a young Cote Rotie. Clearly will integrate further with time, but is enjoyable in its sinewy and provocative youth. In comparison to the '05, this is a much more serious wine and represents another bold step forward. Kudos again to Paul & Stef. I loved it! (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Cheers,

Otis
Original Post
I had one the day after it came in. I liked it, but not quite as much as you. I'll try another soon, probably some bottle shock and shipping shock going on.

  • 2006 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (5/1/2008)
    I couldn't resist. This sat for 2 days after shipping, then I had a chance to open one. Dark wine, fairly opaque. On the first night it had a strong minty nose, but by night 2 the nose had mellowed and showed more spice, somewhat remniscent of great rhone garrigue. Conversely on night 2 the palate was much more controlled (in a good way) showing dark brambly fruit, and nice roundness while still possessing ample acidity and quite a bit of tannin, while on night #1 it was more disjointed and all over the place. Obviously this wine was drunk way too soon. I do want to try one more of these soon, but I'll wait a month or so before going back to it, maybe 2 or 3 months would be more in order. It's clearly a good wine and probably rates in the low 90s, but I can't really assign it a grade now.

Posted from CellarTracker
Paul - Since you and the other mailing-list folks were kind enough to make room for the late additions - I have a three pack that I am itching to drink.

Do you have any recommendations on drinking windows? and what would you ideally pair with the wine?

Thanks,

G
The pH on this wine is high for me - 3.87 was the finished number. Not high for California, but most of my wines are in the 3.5-3.6 range. I'm telling people drink it earlier rather than later: now to next 5-6 years.

Do let it settle down from shipping, give it 3-4 weeks. It's a rough few weeks for the wine around shipping. It goes from sitting in the warehouse in San Jose, on to a truck to Napa, then through the shipping process and out across the country.

I like grilled foods with this wine. Smokey flavors with fresh pepper on lamb or beef. Stef wrote a blog that has some pairing ideas too:

http://stefaniawine.blogspot.com/2008/05/las-vegas-trad...-06-syrah-notes.html

Funny thing about that blog is the reference to Cote Rotie that matches Otis' note.
  • 2006 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (6/8/2008)
    Did not decant. Pretty dark purple color with expressive nose of blackberry and a prominent floral note. Big dark cherry, blackberry, and pepper flavors fill the mouth while the finish adds a nice mouth-watering acidity and a touch of vanilla. While the wine wine is enjoyable now, I really believe it could benefit from some short-term cellaring to meld together. A very nice effort. (92 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker
Popped and poured at lunch today with steve8, vinaigre and mimik.

A bit tight on the open. While nice, nothing spectacular. However, with about 1 hour this one really started to open up. The fruit and spices melded together well. On the palate, balanced and enjoyable. After 2 hours I was beginning to get aromas of chocolate on the nose. Nice. (91pts).

Well done, Paul. Very enjoyable. Paired well with Sausages in a cummin sauce.
Thanks to Steve8, I got two bottles of this wine from him today. I also had it with the others at lunch. The nose is really seductive but initially I found the palate a little light and the finish medium long if not short but I believe this is due to its youth. 89-90 for now with some points for future improvement.
  • 2006 Stefania Syrah Eaglepoint Ranch - USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County (6/22/2008)
    This bottle was amazing. I didn't decant it, but I drank it with friends over about a 3 hour period. Medium color, seductive nose of earth, spice, dark fruit and flowers. It rewards the palate with luscious round fruit, but I sense that with more time it'll open to a real beauty. More feminine than masculine, but quite powerful nonetheless. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker
Man, I'll have to open one of these soon. Quite the raves.

Anyone try the Haut Tubee yet? I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was... I admit my expectations were not high b/c the blend sounded so unusual. It was darned tasty. Seemed to dance between characteristics of the different varietals, so it had something to stand on all through the palate.
I've had more emails about the Haut Tubee than any wine we've released so far.

I did down play it a great deal when talking about it and in the offer letter. I made it sound all along like leftovers, and then priced it that way. I really didn't want to make something that seemed like a hostage wine.

It's really super small lots from good vineyards. Any one of the components on it's own would be a good wine, I'd just only have numbers like 5 or 6 cases of each component.

Putting the small lots together lets us make enough wine that it makes sense to bottle it and release it out to people.

I'm planning on making about 75 cases in 2007, with more of a Syrah component. We do have a little left. I only allocated out 20 cases and I'm showing we have 98 bottles of Haut Tubee left today and 121 bottles of Syrah.
quote:
Originally posted by Lentini:
Anyone try the Haut Tubee yet? I was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was... I admit my expectations were not high b/c the blend sounded so unusual. It was darned tasty. Seemed to dance between characteristics of the different varietals, so it had something to stand on all through the palate.


I've only tasted it once, at the winery. It was a brand new bottle and seemed a bit tight so I plan to hold them for at least a few months.

I aim to put one in a blind tasting alongside some other California/Central Coast blends - Kathryn Kennedy "Lateral", Cinnabar "Mercury Rising", Thomas Fogarty "Skyline", Roudon Smith "Claret", etc. It's just a question of organising the event.
I went ahead and popped/poured the '06 Syrah last night after reading these reviews. Really nice pure fruit with an exciting amount of complexity on the late palate. Very nice and a big step up from the '05. The wine it most reminded me of was an '05 Cayuse Cailloux Syrah, and I think Paul will take that as a complement. It wasn't quite to that level yet, imho, but perhaps tonight I'll open the Cayuse and have a head-to-head with the other half bottle of Stefania just to see how good my memory is and directly compare. Definitely not a fair comparison given the established status of Cayuse, but I'll do it anyway.
mareff, I cooked Tbirds wine, sending him some more so if you can try one of the replacements when he gets it, do that.

The Haut Tubee is 20% from grapes we grow in our front and back yard. 10 Grenache, 20 Syrah, 4 Mourvedre plants, and 3 Zinfandel plants. We also have a Viognier that has never set fruit. I took out about 15 of the originals we had planted to give the rest more room.

The vines are head trained and tied up a single post like is done in the Northern Rhone. They set a lot of fruit but I remove about 50% before harvest to prevent Mildew.

I usually pick the grapes alone about 6AM, Stef makes breakfast while I pick. We then drive them up to Chaine d'Or and put them into a single 60 gallon bin. Stef takes off her shoes, washes her feet and I lift her into the bin. I hold on to her while she smashes the grapes down.

They ferment on native yeast and I punch down the must 2-3 times a day. Really at first you don't so much punch down as flip over as most of the juice is sill inside the berries. Fermentation takes about 2 weeks. I then press it in a wood basket press by hand. Usually in the dark by myself.

Next the wine goes into a 200 liter stainless tank to settle. After 2-3 days I rack it into a 600 liter tank and it waits for the other small lots to complete. As soon as there is enough wine in the tank to fill a barrel I transfer it to a barrel and start Malo.

We did plant those first 50 vines as an experiment. I wanted to grow grapes and make wine. I thought it would be wise to start off by seeing if I had any apptitude for grape growing and could actually keep a plant alive, before I sank any serious money into it.

Now it serves as a little lab. I can try out new techniques here first before using them at the other vineyards we take care of. Our home is also 2-4 weeks ahead of all the other vineyards so I can monitor what is happening in those vineyards by keeping track of things here at home.

Right now we have 15 acres we manage for ourselves and 3 other acres we manage for other wineries.

http://www.stefaniawine.com/winesvineyards/vineyards.html

That list doesn't include the Arastradero Vineyard, and Sesson Vineyard that are new projects this year.
I went ahead tonight with a head-to-head between the '06 Stefania Syrah and the '05 Cayuse Cailloux Syrah... The '05 was a year older, but the '06 was open for a day. These were my attempts at decent tasting notes:

The comparison was very valid...

Color... Stefania and Cayuse Cailloux are indistinguishable. Thin clear rim with cherry red edge to very dark wine.

Nose... Stefania is fruity elegance with minerally balance and just a bit of candy. Cayuse is more in your face fruit, with sourness and some smoky character.

With chicken divan, Stefania is well-balanced, fruity but not aggressive, a touch hot. The fruit is well balanced with some oak character, thins quickly in a nice way but doesn't disappear on the midpalate, hint of sourness as you move to the finish, flavors become complex as the finish kicks in and last more than 30 seconds. I think the finish is helped by the heat. Flavors evolve on the finish, and make it the highlight. 91-92pts.

The Cayuse is more full through the middle. It avoids most of the sourness the nose showed with some cherry and plum fruit flavors. A touch hot as well. Nice complexity on the finish, with more fruitiness than the Stefania. If a little less complex than the Stefania, it is less subtle and lingers powerfully for 15 secs, and continues on more than 45 seconds. Cayuse can afford to lose more fruit as it ages, so I'm guessing it will develop a little better. 92-93pts.

Very well done for Stefania... If more subdued than the Cayuse, it has good style and is definitely a great second year effort.

While both New World wines, I would say the Stefania would appeal more to Old World fans, and Cayuse to new.

My wife preferred the Stefania. Style-wise, I think I did, too.

Paul - Really nicely done. Just to pile on about how tough we are comparing your wines... I tried your 2005 Cabernet against a Pride Cabernet. You still had some room to improve there, so don't get too cocky!! Wink Wink
quote:
Originally posted by Lentini:

Paul - Really nicely done. Just to pile on about how tough we are comparing your wines... I tried your 2005 Cabernet against a Pride Cabernet. You still had some room to improve there, so don't get too ****y!! Wink Wink


My 2006 Cabernet's are a real step up from the 2005. I keep learning every year. So far I've felt like each vintage was better than the last.

I think the 06 Uvas Creek will be very popular, and the 06 SCM Cab will fly out the door.
We're shooting for on or about 9/15, with shipping to start in late October.

I just went and counted and there have been 58 sign ups since the last release, figuring out allocations is going to be un-fun. If you've ordered before you should get the same allocation. Spring next year is going to be really tight. I think sign ups from here forward are looking at a year to get an offer for Syrah and probably two years to get Cabernet.
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
I think the 06 Uvas Creek will be very popular, and the 06 SCM Cab will fly out the door.

I gotta say, Paul. I'm really enjoying the '05's. The only issue I have with them is that there's not enough. I want to try a few with a few years on them, too. To follow them for just a little bit. Hard to keep one's hands off of these. Smile
I opened a Haut Tubbe last week. Even though I decanted it through the magic funnel it was as I remembered it - pretty tight and tannic at first.
It really started to show well after 3-4 hours, by which time of course there was very little left. I'm definitely going to give the next one plenty of air.

I opened an 06 Syrah on Saturday too, the notes made me want to try it. Yeah, that stuff is great right out of the gate. Sadly I only got one glass so wasn't able to track its progress, but I agree it's only going to get better.
Referral points would be a good idea, I'd have to add that to the sign ups.

The Pinot will be tough. I'll have about 40 cases available of the 2007 vintage. Not enough to go around. In 2008 we're going up to 250 cases though, so if you can't get the 2007, you will get the 2008.

I'll put a blog up with some pictures of the vineyard today, it's amazing.
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
Referral points would be a good idea, I'd have to add that to the sign ups.

The Pinot will be tough. I'll have about 40 cases available of the 2007 vintage. Not enough to go around. In 2008 we're going up to 250 cases though, so if you can't get the 2007, you will get the 2008.


Bummer! I have been excited about that one. I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would be in a position to get an allocation in '07 because I know you will do it right.
quote:
Originally posted by thirsty man:
Paul,

Why don't you test Keeno and offer him an allocation of the 2007 pinot, but require him to purchase it in 15 days.... See if he is REALLY on the wagon. Wink

G

PS- good luck Keeno, its going to be a long summer...


I laughed out loud when I read that. That would not be cool. You may have noticed earlier in the thread that I asked Paul when he planned to send the fall mailer. There was a reason for that. . .
quote:
Originally posted by thirsty man:
Kenno,

If he goes forward with the offer - I'll buy it for you (so you don't break your oath) and we will split it when it is ready to drink. Wink

G


A very kind gesture. However, I can't help but wonder if that isn't bending the rules a little too much. A good idea though!
At any rate, I think I am a little too low on points to qualify. Paul will have to confirm, but there should be quite a few folks ahead of me on the list.
The Montreal/Michigan guys pool their orders and send me a note on who bought what so I can divide the points up. I'm fine with that and it saved them some shipping costs too.

Kenno, you're ranked #68 in points right now, in pretty good shape to get a first time Pinot allocation. It will probably just go out to the top 100.
quote:
Originally posted by Stefania Wine:
The Montreal/Michigan guys pool their orders and send me a note on who bought what so I can divide the points up. I'm fine with that and it saved them some shipping costs too.

Kenno, you're ranked #68 in points right now, in pretty good shape to get a first time Pinot allocation. It will probably just go out to the top 100.


Sweet! Thanks Paul.

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