2012 Chalone Vineyard Estate Syrah, Chalone AVA
The synergy between mountain-grown grapes and the fabulous 2012 vintage gave our Estate Syrah its dense saturation of jammy plum and wild blackberry expression with a streak of earthy spiciness. High-mountain sage, black licorice, tar, white pepper and minerality, which speak to the terroir of our Chalone estate vineyard, accent the wine with Old World character. Ripe, approachable tannins structure the bold, dark fruit flavors, while chocolatey oak nuances persistent on the finish.
Food Pairing Notes
Grilled skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, roasted pork with wild mushroom polenta, and braised lamb shanks.
October 3 to 23, 2012
14 months in 100% French oak
We hand harvested the grapes at night, as each section reached maturity, to retain their acidity and vibrant flavors. After destemming and several days of cold soaking, the must was fermented in small, open-top tanks, with three punch-downs a day to re-submerge the flavor-rich cap of skins. Following extended maceration to develop the wine’s deep flavors and supple tannins, we barrel aged the wine for 14 months. The 2012 vintage was just about perfect in every way. The growing season began with a frost-free spring and excellent conditions for flowering and berry set. The resulting normal-sized crop was welcomed after the very small yields in 2011. Our Syrah vines ripened their clusters slowly and evenly through summer’s moderate temperatures, which led to abundant, ripe flavors with balanced acidity.
Winemaker Robert Cook sources this wine from 18 acres of Syrah on our Chalone estate. These acres are divided into three sections—called the Tower, Strip and Macwood Vineyards—and the vines are grafted to three different Syrah clones for flavor complexity. “The Australian Shiraz clone brings the Old World character: earthy spice, black tar, white pepper and deep fruit,” Robert explains. “The northern Rhône Syrah clone is bright and fruit-driven. The third clone’s character is between the Rhône and Shiraz clones, making the blend reminiscent of both wine regions, yet shaped by the terroir of Chalone.