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September 23, 2009


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Nice writeup, Evan. True to your "stories behind the people" approach. I have gotten a similar impression of Jeff, and I look forward to visiting Lucas next time I'm up in the area.

By the way, I believe Thirsty Owl (another Cayuga producer) makes a varietal Syrah as well and uses it as a blender.

Tom - Yeah, I figure I'm missing someone making Syrah. Red Newt's 07 is the darkest I've had: rich and true to form (according to Jeff Houck) in that it brought ample black pepper. I wonder what the scientific reason would be for Syrah "hitting a ripening wall" as Jeff describes. So much to learn!

Btw, would you have needed further explanation of "sodium pentothal?" :)

Glenora makes a Syrah as well.

Hey, how about a write-up on some of us Gruner Veltliner producers? We are making our first batch this year...

Come on out to the Lake Erie region and taste the Liberty Vineyards Syrah! My husband and I grow the grapes (which we call Shiraz). :)

We also grow Syrah on the Niagara Escarpment, and did so after seeing the results of several Canadian plantings. It survives cold winters somewhat better than Merlot. We love the variety - the vines are very lush and vigerous. The wine is deep red and loaded with spice - particularly white pepper. Our first release will be the 2008 vintage, which is expected to be done barrel aging in December or January.

Duncan - Thanks for jumping in, and we look forward to tasting your Syrah. Do you find, as Jeff Houck of Lucas does, that Syrah tends to hit a strange ripening wall?

Wendy - We'd love to try your Syrah; can you explain why you chose to call it Shiraz?

Brendan - I'll be contacting you soon to set up a visit. We want to learn more about the Zugibe plans. Certainly Gruner is just one interesting topic, as the number of localy Gruner vineyards slowly grows.

Hi Evan--

We mainly chose to call it Shiraz because we're ornery. We call Pinot Grigio Pinot Gris, too :) My husband visited Australia in 2000, shortly after we bought our house and vineyard. We ripped out the Concords little by little in the ensuing years and talked about what kind of wine grapes we'd plant. Rick, who has been in the industry a long time, was in favor of planting mostly Pinot Gris. I had NO experience in the industry but loved red wine so I lobbied for red varietals. Shiraz was the first we decided on, and we also planted Cab Sauv & Carmenere (we got vines right out of quarantine). Then, we learned that, of our youngest 4 rows of Pinot Gris, 2 of the rows were actually Pinot Noir. It's been very interesting learning about these grapes and working with them in the vineyard. The very talented winemaker who works with our grapes has made fantastic Syrah & Pinot Noir wines in both 2007 & 2008.

"We call it Shiraz across the road" has been my little joke to tasters whenever I work in the tasting room at Liberty.

The Lake Erie region is definitely in the beginning stages of making decent wine, but I think we'll get there!

I've tried Duncan's Arrowhead Spring 2008 Syrah in cask and there's no doubt that even in a so-so vintage he can get great extraction, fruit and spice from the grape.

Thanks for the shout out, T. Mansell....we certainly do make a Syrah at Thirsty Owl, straight and blended versions...Liked the article...

Jennifer - Thanks for joining the conversation. I need to come down and spend some time with you guys in person - soon! Also, do you find, as Jeff does, that Syrah stops ripening at some point mid-season? I'm always curious to hear if growers are experiencing the same idiosyncracies.

Thirsty Owl is a must-visit on my usual trips up Cayuga. I have a bottle of the Syrah and I will likely be reviewing it for my blog sometime soon. Looking forward to it.

This is so cool, I think that growing syrah is such a great idea in NY only because I have been slowly trying as many syrahs from the niagara escarpment and they are fantastic. Lailey, in the Niagara On the Lake appellation is doing phenomenal things with syrah, do I dare say southern rhone style?

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