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92 Points - Wine Spectator, James Laube
"Bold, rich and extracted, with a dense core of extracted blackberry, mineral, spice and grilled meat. Full-bodied and tightly wound, this is still just a baby, so best to set aside. Best from 2014 through 2025. 250 cases made." –JL
The 2009 Muhlner Steps Vineyard is a workhorse Syrah in a class of its own. This vineyard is a classic in the way it shows off such exotic evening campfire notes. The nose is a wilderness of smells beginning with ripe black cherries and moving to crispy bacon, espresso bean, graphite, crushed herbs and toasty French oak. The palate is a savory expression of blackberry, dried currant, minerals and earth. A couple of years of cellaring will certainly benefit this wine as it is showing very young with good support in structure and tannin. With proper cellaring this wine will continue to drink well for 12 to 15 years or longer.
Located in the steep eastern mountains of Chiles Valley, Napa Valley, is the Muhlner Vineyard. The vineyard’s proprietors, John and Jennifer Muhlner, planted their Clone 877 Syrah vines in 1999. The result is a wonderful marriage where the right varietal and rootstock is planted in the right site. The vineyard consists of carved, steep terraces that lead like a staircase up to their hilltop home that faces west.
The grapes were hand picked early and cool in the morning, then immediately whole berry destemmed, given a five day cold soak and fermented in tank for 15 days. The grape pomace was lightly pressed as not to supply too much tannin into the wine. Combined, the small volume of wine was allowed to settle for three days prior to going to barrel. The barrel program was 100% French oak with 60% of that as new Francois Fereres from the tight grained Voges forest in both medium and heavy toast. Indigenous malolactic bacteria were encouraged to thrive during the secondary fermentation.
100% Syrah 0.53 g/100mL T.A., 4.43 pH, 16.2% Alc. Bottled on August 23, 2011 275 Cases Produced
Suggested Retail: $45 per bottle