2021 Arnot-Roberts, Syrah, Sonoma Coast.
The latest wine, I opened, from my set of 2021 releases from Arnot-Roberts, was this thrilling and spicy Sonoma Coast Syrah, a wine unmistakably Northern Rhône inspired with a whole cluster savory kick, also shows off some gripping red fruits and a semi-carbonic sensation on the medium bodied palate with vine picked berries, damson plum, pomegranate and currant fruits, snappy herbs, peppery spice and fresh anise. This wine is still electric and wildly youthful, taking some time to open up and gather its varietal character, adding floral tones, mineral, loamy earth and camphor, with a nice lingering contrast between plush fruit with a touch of creme de cassis and umami crunchiness, best decanted and served with hearty cuisine, like lamb kabobs. There’s a drying feel that is a bit like a Chinon and a roundness and bright intensity, more like a Cru Beaujolais, of which gives this unique Syrah an extra degree of complexity, I wish I another bottle to put away for 5 to 7 years, as I think there’s way more to come and rewarding nuances that only time can deliver. Winemakers, Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, along assistant winemaker Caitlin Quinn, who’s passion for Syrah brought to the winery, work with vineyards throughout Northern California and now the list includes incredible sites in Napa Valley, the Sonoma Coast, a variety in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Santa Rita Hills near Santa Barbera, Clearlake, where they get some rare Trousseau, and the Sierra Foothills.
The Sonoma Coast Syrah is sourced from extreme cool climate vineyards, which can include Baker Lane, Clary Ranch, Que Syrah Vineyard and Solas, all top sites for producing exciting and stylish Northern Rhône like wines. Along with Clary Ranch, the mainstay of the Arnot-Roberts Syrah program is the Que Syrah Vineyard, which as the winery says, is a true gem on the most western side of the Sonoma Coast. These vines were planted above the town of Occidental in back 1994 by Al and Virginia Rago, and are just about three miles from the Pacific at 850 or so feet up in elevation. This organic vineyard, set on Goldridge Series soils, including Sedimentary Schist, Shale and fractured mudstone, is the oldest planting of Syrah on the Sonoma Coast, and Arnot-Roberts says credit goes to both the Ragos family and to Ehren Jordan (former winemaker at Turley and maker of Failla) for being true mavericks in cool-climate farming of this grape variety in California. Arnot-Roberts, one of most heralded wineries in the last 20 years, was founded in Healdsburg in 2001 by childhood friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts, and is known for what they call their distinctive, site-driven wines that highlight the nature of the unique California terroirs where they get the grapes. Pioneers in alternative varietals, like Trousseau, Gamay, Gruner Veltliner and Ribolla Gialla, to name a few, Arnot-Roberts also does an excellent set of Chardonnays, Pinots, Cabernets and Syrah, as seen here. These 2021s from Arnot-Roberts have been brilliant wines, especially this one, made for Syrah enthusiasts, and I highly recommend chasing them down and or get on their mailing list!
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive