In Search of Syrah

There are few winemakers in this world who are as tireless in their 30th year of making wine as they were in their first. Steve Edmunds is that rarity.

Having established himself in the 1980s as the California winemaker who best understood the magic of Northern Rhône Syrah, he never stopped looking for terroirs and combinations of terroirs with which to capture that magic.
 
In 1988, he was excited by the Côte-Rôtie-like nuance in the Syrah of El Dorado County’s Fenaughty Vineyard, but he thought the wine lacked weight. It wasn’t until 1997 that he found Fenaughty’s perfect mate: the nearby Wylie Vineyard. The 2005 Wylie-Fenaughty Syrah was one of the truly revelatory California wines we’ve ever experienced.
 
But Steve’s quest for his perfect Syrah marriage wasn’t finished. In 2013, he combined Fenaughty fruit with old-vine Syrah from nearby Barsotti Ranch. Though just two miles down the road, Barsotti had the granite to complement Fenaughty’s volcanic clay-loam soil, adding structure and minerality to the perfumed suppleness of Fenaughty. His first effort, a 50/50 blend, was promising, but Steve thought he could do better. So, in the frost-reduced 2015 vintage, he increased the percentage of Fenaughty to 65%. Bingo.     
 
The wine is the 2015 North Canyon Road Syrah. And at $35 a bottle, it is one of the great bargains in wine today.

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