2017 Drew Family Cellars, Syrah, Valenti Ranch Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge.
If you are a reader of my website and been following my reviews in recent years, you’ll no doubt have heard me bang on about how great these Drew wines are, and I will again here and repeat as I have for many vintages that Jason Drew is one of the top winemakers of his generation and is making some of state’s absolute best wines, especially his estate Pinot Noir, but I must say his Syrah is not far off. This new Valenti is a dark and spicy wine that takes cool climate California Syrah elevated heights of quality, style and seduction, it compares well against some of the most sought after Rhones including whole cluster magicians like Jamet, Allemand and Levet. This edition shows blackberry, boysenberry, dark plum, cherry and earthy currant fruits along with torches of black olive, cracked pepper, dried basil, lavender, blueberry compote, minty anise, a faint bacon element and hint of cedar plank. This vintage is warmly ripe and the tannins well integrated with nice energy and at around 13% it is extremely well balanced, but with sensual textures and density of form. Drew used about 75% whole cluster on this 2017 Valenti Ranch Syrah and fermented it with 100% native yeasts before aging in all well seasoned French oak for close to a year.
Grown at good height (elevation) on Oceanic Sedimentary soils within 6 miles of the Pacific Ocean the Valenti is farmed by Drew himself and is planted to a selection of Syrah clones including Clone 1 and Chave Hermitage clones. Drew has been working with this vineyard for 13 years now and took over the farming lease in 2013, continuing to farm it sustainably to the organic standards. He brought in the exciting suitcase Chave Selection which he put in one of the Syrah blocks. According to Drew, this windswept east facing ridge at 1,300 -1400 feet produces a distinctive cool climate Syrah, adding that the constant maritime winds coupled with thin marginal soils lends itself to naturally lower yields, which helps with the concentration and depth of flavor here. All of which makes for a glorious small production Syrah, at only 100 cases, that showcases the terroir and Jason’s gifted touch both in the vines and in the cellar. This is special stuff, don’t miss Drew’s latest wines, in particular this purple/garnet Valenti Syrah and his Morning Dew Ranch Pinot, they are spectacular world class offerings.
($50 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive