2015 Sky Vineyards, Syrah, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley.
The beautifully evolved, inky dark and unique mountain Syrah by Sky is delicious and showing off its distinct and soulful personality with layers of crushed blackberry, plum, currant and blueberry fruits along with earthy mushrooms, leather, minty menthol, wild herbs, dried flowers, anise and cedar accents in a wine that starts with certain shyness, before slowly blossoming in the glass. The age has smoothed the raw and rough edges and the tannins are now modest, but there is still some drying grip and enough natural acidity to give this wine a crisp detail and the finish lingers with some sweet tobacco leaf and mocha note, making for a purely Californian version of this varietal and a wine best enjoyed with a hearty meal and plenty of protein richness. Sky, mostly known for their Zinfandel, does an interesting and entertaining Syrah and usually offers it with some nice cellar age, allowing the wine to be purchased with a nice mature profile, as this 2015 has, it is drinking in a near perfect spot right now. I see that Sky has some 2012 available as well as a new Zin release from the 2017 vintage up now, both should be very entertaining too, you can view the latest stuff on their website.

Sky sits up at over 2,000 feet and gets a lot of day sun with its eastern facing slopes, while the night bring a refreshing cooling influence up here and the terroir is flavored by the volcanic red soils, which provides complexity and a sense of mineral and spice to the wines. The intense mountain grapes here are all hand-harvested by family and friends and fermented in open top one-ton bins with indigenous yeasts naturally. Punch downs are, as expected, performed by hand three times per day to extract all the deep color and flavors. After fermentation, Sky notes, the wine is then pressed old school in a traditional small basket press and then aged in mainly well seasoned used French oak barrels. The vines are tended with holistic methods, all organic and the winery is totally off the grid, relying on solar panels and maybe the generator if needed, all to reduce the effect on the environment and be good friends of nature. These Sky wines, made by Lore Olds, are California classics and I always enjoy them with a huge smile on my face, they provide a raw pleasure that is not always easy to find these days. Bottled without filtration, there is plenty of sediment to be found, best to decant, especially the older wines, but it is worth your effort. These hand bottled and labeled wines are authentic and honest wines, sold direct, that are very fairly priced, I recommend checking them out as soon as possible.
($50 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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