2018 Stagecoach Vineyard “Block I-4” Syrah, Napa Valley

Calistoga, Napa Valley

Friends, I have been in the winegrowing business since as long as I can remember. I am now at the age of 44 years and I can count on both hands the number of times I have coined a vintage as “great,” meaning, that the vintage is of an extent, amount, or intensity above average. When considering greatness of vintages, and I mean this purely from what happened within the vineyard, vintages such as, 1987, 1990, 1997, 1999, 2007, and 2012, all come to mind. The common thread in al of these vintages was consistency throughout the growing season that led to near perfect, and above average, crop sets in Bordeaux varieties. And, now we can include vintage 2018 as one of the greats!

This is our tenth release from the Stagecoach Vineyard and the vineyard continues to
produce Syrah of unparalleled quality. The Syrahs from this mountain vineyard really shine from the steep, rocky terroir of the location. Much like the 2012 vintage, the 2018 vintage possesses a bold, deep, dark color that opens the door to an array of black fruit aromatics. Cassis, blackberry, warm toasted bread and French Oak vanillin all fill the glass with purpose. While still young and in development, the palate shows superior promise with minerals, tongue swirling acidity, cherry and black plum. The tannins are firm and support the back palate for several moments beyond the initial taste. If cellared correctly, this wine will continue to improve through 2029.

In The Vineyard

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.

In The Cellar

The grapes were hand-picked early and cool in the morning, then immediately whole berry destemmed, given an initial cold soak and fermented via native yeast in open top fermenters for 19 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. Bottled unfiltered.

Wine Technicals & Releases

  • Location:Napa Valley
  • Varietal Description :100% Syrah
  • Oak Type:100% French Oak with 60% entirely new Francois Freres from tight grained Voges in both medium and heavy toast.
  • Barrel Aging :18 months
  • Wine Status:Current Release
  • Next Release:Fall 2020
  • Release Price :FMV