2018 Sheldon Wines, Syrah, Luc’s Vineyard, Fountaingrove AVA, Sonoma County.
The upcoming 2018 Syrah from Sheldon Wines is one of their most intriguingly wild creations to date with gorgeous aromatics and an amazing play between wonderfully ripe and pure fruit juiciness and raw grip in a serious wine that achieves zen like harmony without any oak influences. This dark and seductive Syrah has an outrageous personality and a heavenly liquid violets and blackberries perfume and an ass kick of spices that burst from the glass, it is like if you took a Fleurie and mixed it with Crozes-Hermitage-Hermitage! Sometimes winemaker Dylan Sheldon reminds me of a young Randall Grahm, where you think either this guy is either brilliant or has a screw loose, but the wine somehow opens the doors of perception and everything becomes clear, and this Syrah is crazy good. Layers of black and blue fruits race at you on the medium full palate with incredible intensity, but with a sense of lightness and with vivid transparency showing plum, boysenberry, tangy blueberry and sweet kirsch notes as well as incense, camphor, muddled basil/mint, rosemary/sage, cinnamon stick and pepper. This is a wine perfectly suited for robust cuisine on the playful side, it is thrilling with a slight chill and served with BBQ, lamb kabobs, earthy mushroom dishes or just burgers. This zippy garnet/purple Syrah fills out with air and gains texture in the mouth, gaining lots of style and providing an entertaining and ever changing personality. Sheldon’s latest set of wines are stunning and especially their 2018 stuff show amazing class and delicacy, don’t miss the Sangiovese and this one barrel limited release Syrah.
So, Dylan picked his grapes for his Cote-Rotie inspired Syrah from a tiny home, hillside, vineyard in Sonoma County’s Fountaingrove called Luc’s Vineyard and he did a full native carbonic, whole cluster fermentation for eight days before pressing the Syrah into a stainless barrel that had freshly squeezed Viognier skins to finish primary which lasted an extra week, then the wine was racked off to a clean well used neutral French barrel for three months, where it completes malos, before being transferred back to stainless to settle for bottling unfined and unfiltered. This early bottling of the young wine was to preserve the bright freshness and the heightened, Viognier infused bouquet array, that is on display in this expressive Syrah. I look forward to seeing the evolution of flavors in this vintage, Dylan notes he was looking for the resulting dynamic liaison between the savoy aspect of the whole cluster and stems, the intense fruit driven nature of the carbonic maceration effect and the delicate floral aromatics offered by the Viognier (skins) of which I too taste here, it is a thrill ride in the glass. Sheldon often refers of himself as the cuvee of lunatic, artist, mad scientist and lover and you can really see that in his wine, and certainly this one is the essence of all that is in his living soul, and I for one couldn’t help but love it. This Syrah is uniquely Sheldon, though those that enjoy Pax, Ryme, Andrew Murray and or Arnot-Roberts to name a few, will enjoy this wine, and it looks to be a vintage to enjoy in its youth.
($38 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive