I am quickly becoming a fan of Syrah. I wrote about this grape a while back and I have begun to seek out more of this grape both on and off Long Island.
This Martha Clara Vineyards Syrah ($24) is from Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. Their winemaker, Juan Micieli-Martinez, makes this Syrah in the Côte-Rôtie style in northern Rhône. It is blended with some Vioginer. The addition of Vioginer adds to the aroma of the wine. There is only about 6% Vioginer in this wine, the rest is all Syrah. In Côte-Rôtie, Syrah and Vioginer are the 2 main grapes that are grown. Not all producers make Syrah that way — the way Martha Clara does, but some do. And from my research, I think I like it that way.
How do they add the Vioginer to the Syrah? Do they just mix the two? Nope. Vioginer is harvested before Syrah is. As Martha Clara Vineyards harvest Vioginer for a varietal bottling they leave enough Vioginer on the vine to add to the Syrah when the eventually harvest Syrah. When the Syrah has ripened and it is time to harvest, both the Syrah and the Vioginer are picked at the same time, crushed together and fermented together. That’s how they do it in Côte-Rôtie and that’s how it done at Martha Clara.
On the nose I was picking up some cherry and red berries. There was an earthy smoky note that developed over time in the glass. There was also a bit of an exotic spice layered in the back. After a while there was a fragrant, floral element that appeared. This was in part to the Vioginer.
The taste delivered some nice plum and black pepper notes with some raspberry in the background. The tannins were elegant and acidity was perfect. It made this a great food wine.
The finish brought some tart red berry and cherry with some minty herbal notes.
I plan on exploring more of this grape so expect to see more Syrah from Long Island here in the future.