Our Estate vineyard is one of the coldest vineyards in California – in the world, for that matter – growing Syrah. When we purchased the property we were concerned that we would not be able to ripen Pinot noir, much less Syrah. Due to the moderating effect of our maritime climate, however, the onset of wet and cold weather is gradual and we can experience warm days with full sunshine in October. This allows us an additional month to ripen our grapes in comparison to other typical Syrah growing regions of the world which we need as the Syrah grapes are nowhere close to being ripe in late September.
Cool climate Syrah can take two forms. They are either red-fruited with floral and sanguine notes or leaning towards dark fruit with meaty, earthy notes. In both cases, refreshing acidity and low alcohol result in balanced wines with extraordinary age-ability. Each of our two cuvees – La Bruma and Les Titans – capture one of these expressions while delivering our site’s unique mineral and white pepper characteristics.
You will benefit greatly by aging our Syrahs. When young, the power and concentration will no doubt impress but aging Syrah, like most red wines, allows aromas to integrate and coalesce while bottle age characteristics develop. The result is a uniform, more complex profile. So drink a bottle now, if you must, but then hide a few and forget about them for a few years.
2016 Peay Vineyards La Bruma Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast
Cool climate Syrah often conjures up aromas of grilled meat, herbs, black olive and game but can also capture floral aromas that keep the wine fresh and age-worthy. Being in such a cold spot for Syrah, our two wines feature all of these aromas but highlights one style in each cuvee. The 2016 La Bruma emphasizes the violet and lavender notes often found in this blend as well as some olive brine and fresh blood qualities I find in the northern Rhône. There is a sour cherry mid palate with black and red fruits flavors but not blue fruit as often found in warm climate Syrah. It is more open on release than the 2015 as was true of all our 2016 wines in relation to 2015.
2015 Peay Vineyards La Bruma Estate Syrah
The last 2 vintages we have been chronicling the rebound of our Syrah blocks and how that, in tandem with a string of strong vintages for us on the Coast, has resulted in some of the best Syrah we have ever produced. Well, for all of you who like the flavors found only in cold climate syrah, we give you the astonishingly good 2015 La Bruma Estate Syrah. It must have something to do with years that end in 5 as this wine reminds me of the 2005 La Bruma – which we loved and only have 3 bottles of in our cellar. La Bruma usually presents a more feminine profile than Les Titans but the 2015 La Bruma has a very intense graphite and smoke nose with blackberry and black currant fruit lying at the core like a bottomless well. It is quite savory with fennel, rosemary and garlic notes making visions of lamb chops dance in our heads. Notably, there is little of the violet, floral quality usually found in this cuveé. The mouth is dark and savory with some bitter chocolate and plum notes overlying a granite and inorganic mineral quality. The wine is not heavy in the least as the alcohol is moderate and the finish bright and energetic due to refreshing acidity. This wine is very compelling right now but will be fantastic with a few more years under its belt. The 2005 La Bruma is just hitting its stride 13 years from vintage and we would give this wine up to double that life, if any lasts that long.
2014 Les Titans Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast
Just from the color you can tell the 2014 Les Titans Syrah will be magnificent; it has an electric psychedelic purplish glow hinting at the energy present in the wine. The nose is a complete knockout with iron, grilled meat, hickory smoke, ink, and pain grillé aromas. The mouth is consistent with the nose combining power and precision. The finish is long and clean with great acidity and lingering notes of violets and squid ink. The Les Titans has everything you could hope for in cold climate Syrah with grace and focus and none of the one dimensional, heavy, leaden quality found in lesser wines. I suggest you drink a bottle upon release to see what is so exciting and then open a few every few years to watch it evolve into the single best Les Titans – and maybe even Syrah – we have ever made.
2014 La Bruma Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast
The La Bruma cuvée is our more berry and floral driven Syrah and the classic 2014 La Bruma is no exception. The violet notes are supported by grilled bread, new leather and blood aromas with hints of cloves and cinnamon stick. These last toasty notes will integrate over the next 5 years. The mouth has the classic La Bruma flavors of iron, blackberry, ink (or lead pencil) and cherry with medium body and great acid. The La Bruma still tastes a little young at this stage but by winter will be approachable and will bring great enjoyment over the next 15+ years.
2013 Les Titans Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast
The 2013 vintage signaled the return of our Syrah blocks to healthy production. The timing was perfect as the vines are middle aged and making wines of such great character as evidenced by the 2013 Les Titans.
This may be our best Les Titans to date; better than the deep and rich 2006 or the bold and aromatic 2009 (my previous favorites.) There is a notable depth of Peay Estate Syrah character in the 2013 with less flash and flesh than the ‘06 or ‘09. The nose and mouth showcase red fruits, iron, blood, and rosemary. The mid-palate is neither firm nor fat but focused and harmonious. The persistence on the finish is very long. I could drink this all day long with or without food. You can enjoy it now (the aromas are well-integrated despite the youth and I want you to try it and become as excited as I am) or you can age it for as long as you desire (10+ years to 2016 and beyond).
Archived Tasting Notes >