The 2009 vintage proved to be one of the more challenging vintages for later-ripening varietals
such as Syrah. Rain in mid-October brought the harvest to a close, occasionally before we (or
the grapes) were ready for it to end. At the Garys' Vineyard, down in the Santa Lucia Highlands,
the weather gods gave us a couple extra days of hang time, and we were able to let the grapes
hang until October 23. However, harvest was still at some of our lowest sugar levels in many
years at Garys'.
The real concern was not sugar, however, but whether or not the tannins were ripe. With this in
mind, we were very careful in our extraction, making certain that we reduced fermentation
punchdowns to once a day, in an effort simply to keep the cap wet. We also pressed the wine to
barrel immediately upon the conclusion of fermentation, thus limiting the overall time on the
skins. These techniques, combined with a very careful selection of barrels for the final wine (we
selected only 5 out of 21 barrels) helped us to produce a wine which truly reflects the characteristics
of vintage (only 13.8% alcohol, with a strong backbone) and yet remains very much in balance.
The Wine Advocate rated this Syrah 93 Points and described it, very accurately, this way, "The
2009 Syrah Garys' is a big wine packed with black fruit, violets and spices. This is a decidedly
explosive, opulent and structured Syrah that needs another year or two for the tannins to start settling
down. Hints of smoke, game, and tar add further complexity and depth to this brooding, inward
wine. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019."