93 Pts 2020 Syrah, “En Passerillage”

2020 Syrah, “En Passerillage”

Santa Maria Valley

We adopted the extremely non-standard practice air-drying the grapes post-harvest. The extremely mild climate of the Santa Maria Valley allowed us to dry the grapes al fresco in situ, gently placing the grapes on paper trays in the shade of the vine canopy. The intent was not so much to dehydrate the grapes (this does happen, to the tune of picking up perhaps one additional degree of alcohol), but rather to lignify the stems, in other words, turning them from slightly herbaceous “green” to sturdy, puissant, costaud brown. The vitaceous equivalent of lead in the pencil, as it were. We experimented with both punching down and pumping over, and found, as with the Grenache tanks, more immediate access to the wine through pumping over (possibly through greater exposure to oxygen) but ultimately a more complete and complex extraction with punching down.

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