We have noted previously how we identify great sites for making terrific wine. One important element in this land of sunshine and dry weather? Wind. For many decades it was difficult for vine researchers to distinguish the impact of sun vs. heat. You see, a dark grape receiving direct sunlight in the middle of the day can be as much as 30 degrees warmer than ambient air temperatures. So was it more sunlight, or warmer berries that increased your color?
Then in 2000 a study was published that used heated and cooled air flow to alter the temperature of grape berries without altering their sun exposure. The air passing over the grapes dampened high temperatures. Now, imagine yourself sleeveless on a sunny summer day, perhaps some perspiration on your arms but sipping some wonderful Syrah. Will you be cooler with a breeze, or without? It is breezes like in the video below occurring nearly every afternoon at Obsidian Vineyard that we believe allow us to make a floral, savory, cherry laden Syrah that tastes of something from a cooler climate than one would otherwise suspect from this vineyard. Obsidian is consistently one of our top rated Syrah; it is an old vine vineyard, rocky, burly, extremely low yielding, and breezy. And we know those breezes, even with full sun, will decrease the temperature experienced by those grapes – altering their physiology. It is another cog in the mystery of terroir. Join Donelan if you’d like to try some of the inimitable Obsidian Syrah.