We love the Cristom wines and are fortunate to have a cache of older vintages. Particular gems amongst these are the estate Syrahs, which make up a minimal fraction of the estate's produce. Tucked beneath the Louise vineyard, on flatter and warmer soils, Cristom have a small half hectare parcel of Syrah- a rarity in the Willamette Valley. This marginal climate, perfect for slow ripening Burgundian varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, here yields an astonishingly svelte Syrah that is of a style entirely its own.
The vines are planted at a high density and the bunches are fermented mostly whole cluster. The wines are aged for about 20 months in a mix of new and old French oak, though there’s little wood signature perceptible amidst the abundant black fruit. 2008 was a fine vintage for the Willamette Valley and Syrah was no exception in benefitting from the fine conditions. The wine remains vibrant and effusive, mingling bright fruit with the savory spices of maturity.
It is still deep ruby in the glass, and blackberry jumps out along with lavender and fennel. The nose is notably complex with a touch of bloody, smoked meat, figs and black cherry perceptible as well. Dried potpourri spices linger on the palate after the concentrated red and black cherry flavors pass. There is still a strong charge of tannins, fine though they are, and acidity is nicely brisk. Although satisfying on its own, this wine would do well with all manner of roasted or smoked meats. It’s a great exemplar of Cristom Syrah and this is an excellent opportunity to experience a top-notch domestic Syrah at maturity.