2011 Stagecoach Vineyard "Block I-4" Syrah, Napa Valley
275 Cases Produced
The Wine Advocate, Robert M. Parker, Jr.
"The spectacular 2011 Syrah Stagecoach Vineyard Block I-4 (275 cases produced) boasts a dense purple color along with notes of camphor, blackberries, cassis and charcoal. The wine hits the palate with a thunderous display of black fruits, loads of glycerin (15.9% alcohol), (but not a bit of heat,) sweet tannin and stunningly rich, concentrated fruit. A terrific, full-bodied texture, sensational purity and a long finish result in an iconic Syrah from one of the great pioneers in Napa Valley."
This is our second release from the Stagecoach Vineyard, perched in Atlas Peak Mountain. The Syrahs from that mountain are incredible and really shine from the steep, rocky terroir of the Atlas Peak appellation. The 2011 possesses a wonderful dark color that opens the door to an array of black fruit aromatics. The personality of this wine is like a prize fighter. Showy and strong in the ring! Blackberry, cassis, toasted bread and French Oak vanillin all fill the glass with flair and purpose. Though young, the palate shows promise with flavors of dark minerality, tongue swirling acidity, plum and cherry. The tannins are anchored firmly in this bold wine and support the back palate for several moments beyond the initial taste. If cellared correctly, this wine will continue to improve through 2021.
Stagecoach is one of the Napa Valley’s largest and leading mountain vineyards located in the Atlas Peak AVA at an elevation of around 1,700 feet above sea level. The soil is very rocky and the topography very steep. Temperatures there are warm in the midday and cold at night. This diurnal effect makes for a vine that is stressed in its environment while gaining excellent hang time for flavor development. “Block I-4” is referenced in this bottling because of its very high elevation relative to the rest of the Stagecoach Vineyard. 2011 was similar to 2009 in several ways. In saying that, we had rains like we experienced in 2009, however, the 2011 summer arrived later and rains were again about two weeks later. Overall, the growing seasons were approximately the same length in degree days of growing. What we did see unique to 2011 was frost in the spring and severe sunburn in the summer. The culmination led to 30% lower yields. Learning many important lessons from 2009, we harvested just before the rain arrived in the last week of October.
The grapes were hand-picked early and cool in the morning, then immediately whole berry destemmed, given a five day cold soak and fermented via native yeast in open top fermenters for 15 days. The grape pomace was lightly pressed and kept separate as not to supply too much tannin in the finished wine. During the secondary fermentation, native malolactic was encouraged. The barrel program is 100% French oak with 60% entirely new Francois Frères from the tight grained Voges forest in both medium and heavy toast.