Austin Hope Syrah 2019
The 2019 blend is comprised of three Syrah clones –470 (Garonne, France), 383 (Hermitage, France), and Caldwell. The grapes were handpicked and fermented separately by vineyard block in five-ton, open-top tanks. After daily pump-overs (for color and tannin extraction) for 10 days, the tanks were tasted as well as tested for their tannins and structure for determination of their length in extended maceration. These wines were held from 15-30 days on their skins before the being aged separately for 14 months in 70% new and 30% once used French oak barrels and puncheons. The wine was racked twice during aging and a third time to create the final blend just prior to bottling in January of 2021.
Our Estate Syrah is grown in the Templeton Gap district, which is near perfect conditions for the varietal; Warm days, cool nights and afternoon spring and summer breezes with some maritime influence from the Pacific Ocean, just 22 miles away. Soils are clay-based but integrated with small, water worn limestone deposits that helps to keep the soil well-drained. We grow several small blocks planted to a many clonal selections. Relatively flat, these vineyard blocks gently slope north or easterly along an ancient creek bed lined with our beloved oak trees. The main trellis system is a vertical shoot position except for Block 7B which is vertically head trained. Plant spacings are tight at, 5’ x5’, 6’ x 4’ and 6’ x 3’, which accommodates more plants per acre, thus allowing each plant to produce less fruit with concentrated color and flavors.
2019 was a challenging growing season. Above average rainfall persisted throughout the spring with the last rainfall occurring May 31st. These conditions kept the spring free of frost threats but relatively cool, leading to slow vine growth. The cooler weather also delayed fruit development. The summer months were somewhat erratic with short heat waves followed by cooler periods. Ultimately, the cooler weather persisted with only a few autumn heat spikes, leading to slower berry maturities and a later harvest. Mid- late October brought overnight freezes which required some harvest mitigation, but by early November harvest was complete.