2014SheldonSyrah2014 Sheldon, Syrah, Luc’s Vineyard, Fountaingrove AVA, Sonoma County.
The latest and upcoming releases from Sheldon Wines, mostly 2014 vintage, are all stylish and wonderfully textured offerings much in line with their own character and low alcohol charms, especially the new Syrah from the recently formed Fountaingove District in Sonoma County, tucked in between Santa Rosa and the Russian River Valley with cool climate hillside fruit. Fountaingrove may sound new, but it is in fact an old wine growing area by California standards and was in fact home to the famous Fountain Grove Winery, established back in 1875 but spiritual cult leader Thomas Lake Harris who wanted to create a utopian society/community and produced some of California’s best wines at the time, though now only remains as a ghost winery. The area provides some impressive grapes from it’s mix of Sonoma volcanic and Franciscan Formation bedrock soils, Dylan and Tobe Sheldon found Luc’s Vineyard, a tiny patch of vines that include Syrah, Graciano and Tempranillo, and because of their love of Graciano decided to take all the grapes farmed here, and rather than producing a Rioja hybrid blend, they have separated the lots and produced a micro batch of wine from each grape with just two barrels of the 2014 Luc’s Syrah being made. The gorgeous and lively Luc’s Syrah by Sheldon is medium bodied, northern Rhone style Syrah, it is just 12.5% alcohol and reminds me of Arnot-Roberts and Bedrock Syrah with crushed violets, faint traces of cassis, bacon, truffle and cracked peppercorns coming through on the nose and palate with blueberry, loganberry and black cherry fruits. This is a classy and dreamy whole cluster effort that gains plummy layers with air, it has a bit of stem spice, black olive and star anise that compliments the tangy fruit, this is really good stuff from one of Sonoma’s coolest micro-wineries, it shows plenty of energy and length with crisp acids and mild tannins, drink from 2016 to 2022. This was one of the stars of the set that also included a sexy and tropical Grenache Blanc, a deep old vine Petite Sirah call Red Hat and the wonderfully expressive Vinolocity a Gigondas inspired cool climate low alcohol Grenache cuvee, they all should be available soon in the tasting room, don’t miss them, and in particular this juicy ultra-tasty light-footed and savory Crozes like Luc’s Vineyard Syrah.
($40 Est.) 93+ Points, grapelive

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