Drinking beautifully now but will cellar well over the next 7-10 years
About The Vineyard
Located against the Sonoma Mountain ridge, the higher elevation of this Bennett Valley vineyard has different fog patterns, which allows for evenly ripened fruit. It is a steep vineyard promoting water run-off, resulting in smaller berries and more intense flavors in the wine.
The vineyard was harvested in late September. The juice was on the skins for 18 days during fermentation prior to being pressed off to tank to begin malolactic fermentation. The wine was racked to 100% French oak barrels before aging for 14 months and bottling unfiltered and unfined.
Vine age: 10 years
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About the Winemaker
A native Scot, Steve Law followed a wine-lover’s path early on. It took him from Paris, where he began a tech career in his 20s, to many important points on France’s wine map, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Provence. But it was his wine-tasting forays in the northern Rhône Valley, just south of Lyon, that resulted in Steve’s obsession with Syrah—particularly the sought-after wines of Saint-Joseph and Côte-Rôtie.
One of the Rhône’s most highly respected vignerons, Yves Cuilleron, inspired and befriended him, offering valuable advice during his “newbie” winemaker days. Subsequently, Michael Talty in Dry Creek Valley gave Steve his first winery job in 2006, which led to the debut MacLaren Syrah getting vinified in Talty’s cellar in 2007.
When Steve and his wife (and winemaking muse), Heather, bottled that first wine—an ’07 Dry Creek Valley Syrah—they had their fingers crossed for success with this new endeavor while being realistic about its challenges. They were attaching their name (their Scottish clan’s name, anyway) to an artisan wine project they were passionate about, but with an inexact sense of where a Sonoma County wine brand not based on Pinot Noir, Cabernet, or Zinfandel would find acceptance among wine enthusiasts.
A dozen vintages later, access to fruit from such vineyards has enabled MacLaren Wines to create space for itself among California’s best producers of Syrah—along with its white Rhône counterpart, Viognier. Two other varieties, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, round out the current portfolio of wines. But it’s through Steve’s single-vineyard Syrahs that his and Heather’s friends and customers have come to understand the “why” of cool-climate Syrah in Sonoma County.
About the Winery
MacLaren Wine MacLaren Wine is a boutique winery producing cool-climate wines from extraordinary Sonoma County vineyards. Approachable and elegant, the French inspired wines are food friendly and meant to be shared with friends and family. Scottish native Steve Law leads the winemaking at MacLaren Wine and is one of the best Syrah and Viognier producers in Sonoma. Learn more
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