California

Back in 1997 we made a special auction donation for an annual event called the Hospice du Rhone (a great gathering of Rhone wine producers and consumers from around the globe). I thought it might be interesting to offer up to this gathering of Rhone freaks a 50/50 blend of cool climate and warm climate syrah. The peppery, high acid fruit from Bien Nacido and the warm thick fruity Roll Ranch seemed like the perfect synergistic match. The 1997 blend turned out great and has become one of my favorite wines produced here. In an effort to see if that idea was a good one or a fluke, we did the same thing in 2000. We picked the two best barrels each of Roll and Bien Nacido and bottled them together back in April of last year.

After bottling I was ecstatic about both separate lots of wine, but completely depressed about the blend—it seemed to show the worst of each lot. We were very gentle with this wine, and, although it was not fined or filtered and went into the bottling tank without any pumping, something had happened. I could not un-blend the lots, but knew from experience that patience was probably needed. I forgot about the wine until after harvest, and in December decided to pop a cork. I was amazed at the transformation that had occurred. Like the 1997, it possesses all the power and richness of Roll, but it is completed by the spiciness and much needed acidity of the Bien Nacido. I have only served this 90 case bottling to a few people, but they have been uniformly knocked out by its wows-y aromatics and its deliciousness. You won’t be disappointed!


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