I had a wine update meeting with Chris, one of the Crushpad winemakers, yesterday afternoon. Since my schedule had been packed, I scheduled it to be a phone meeting, which in retrospect was not the best idea because I became supremely jealous as Chris ogled, swirled, sniffed, tasted and described the wines for me in absentia. But despite the phone line being a poor substitute for my own taste buds, I managed to get a pretty good sense of how my Je Suis darlings are doing. I’ll summarize from Chris’s inspirational sketch:
– Although the Syrah has only been in barrel a short time, it’s already picked up strong vanilla aromas from the oak. Often, the wine will pull out the strongest flavors from the wood when it first hits the barrel, but these may mellow over time. In the finished wine, oakyness tends to smell of vanilla, spices, toast, tobacco, molasses, caramel and the like.
– The wine is ink black in color, with some vibrant, UV-ish violet hues throughout.
– It is very tannic, almost “chewy,” which Chris says is a little unusual, but good. When he tasted it, the wine coated his gums and lips. As the tannins age, he explains, they polymerize to form longer chains, which you feel on the back of the palate. Since the Syrah is still young, though, all those tannins are on the front of the palate, giving that sensation of chewyness, like you could actually bite into the wine.
– Chris says, “any of the color descriptors I used for the Syrah, double them for the Petite.” It is super super dark, you cannot see through it at all, and yet, when you hold it up to the light, you see rays of purple. It’s almost radioactive, glowing. Unfortunately, some of the color will soften with age, so while it will still be dark and beautiful, it will never be quite as intense as it is right now.
– Where the Syrah had more of a dark, earthy, spicy nose, the Petite smells of red fruit and is almost floral (hints of rose and violet).
– Mouthfeel-wise, this one is more “tightly wound,” meaning that it’s more concentrated in the middle of the mouth.
– I am really, really excited.
– All of those crazy tannins will take a while to mellow out, so both wines will have to be in barrel for longer than I expected. Maybe 18 months for the Syrah, longer for the Petite Sirah. But, man, will it be worth the wait!
– We might want to consider blending 2% Petite into the Syrah, just to give it a little more weight. That won’t happen until barrel aging is complete, though.
– I must go visit my wines ASAP. At the very latest, I’ll see them in February, but I’m not sure I can wait that long!