2014 Obsidian VineyardSyrah
This is the first Syrah we are releasing from our 2014 red portfolio and it is a stunner of a wine. Going into the 2014 vintage, we decided to invest time and energy into reinvigorating the vineyard to ensure its longevity and greater ecological sustainability. This six-acre parcel is in fact a 5,900-vine parcel that deserves to be worked on a vine-by-vine basis. To our great pleasure, more conscientious farming has unveiled additional nuances along the Obsidian flavor spectrum, proving that the vitality of the wine lies in the vitality of the vineyard.
The 2014 vintage as a whole is showing very exotic versions of each vineyard’s personality. The 2014 Obsidian is no exception. We believe our cellar practices help promote the vineyard’s terroir, but also showcase and preserve the vintage – two things we cherish about every wine. In addition to our more nuanced farming, we have come to see the vineyard in three blocks. The northern end has the largest vines and most likely the most deeply-rooted; the Syrah from this section is seductive, bringing chocolate ganache, black currants, fig and an expansive mouthfeel to the wine. The steepest part of the vineyard is known to us as “the slope,” and provides a truly remarkable dimension of elegance and finesse—adding a feminine quality that compliments the wine’s classic, masculine notes; the Syrah from the slope brings spiced fruit and fresh florals to the nose, with refined tannins in the mid-palate. The southern end of the property is the most stressed, with the harshest growing conditions. With rocky, shallow soils, the clusters are tiny, concentrated, and this fruit requires the most attention in the cellar to chisel away at its intensity. This section provides the graphite, tobacco, and earth on the nose.
Watching these three sub-sections come together is like watching the characters in a play stand together on stage to take a bow. After nearly 2 years in barrel, the wine is very youthful, yet already abounds with flavors and aromatics. We recommend a healthy decant to help unveil Obsidian’s full potential, or a long evening to enjoy the evolution in glass, or both.
2013 Obsidian VineyardTerroir
Obsidian Syrah Vineyard is one of the most unique places we cultivate. A 30+ year old vineyard that grows on a steep perch rising above the Franz Valley floor in Knight’s Valley, Obsidian seems to want for water even amid rainstorms. The vines struggle mightily to produce canes and leaves, the berries are tiny, and without dropping any fruit yields are unbelievably low and flavor concentration ethereal.
2013 Obsidian VineyardTasting Notes
Just when we thought Obsidian couldn’t get any more unique, the 2013 has raised the bar a little more, with increasing layers of character and utter irresistibility. What is truly compelling about the wine is its unique balance of aromas as varied as peat moss, leather, anise and mocha. We have come think of this combination simply as “Obsidian.”
2013 Obsidian VineyardPast Vintages
This rugged parcel perched high above Knights Valley produces a masculine Syrah. Aged for 20 months in 43% new French oak, with minimal whole-cluster inclusion, the 2012 Obsidian commands attention with its seriously volcanic nose that delivers aromas of wet stone, raw leather and gunpowder.
Wine Advocate: 97pts
A testament to truly distinctive terroir, Obsidian vineyard is a constant variable – dense, concentrated, and enticing. The confluence of rocks, breezes, vine age, and the fact that few places like this in California are planted with Syrah truly results in a unique, varietal expression. Consistent with the past two vintages, the wine was slow to evolve aromatically and in its new home in bottle, has begun to stretch its legs, expressing flavors of tobacco, lilac, licorice, cherries, and mineral components that form a natural association with the volcanic rock the vines grow in. Despite the comparatively cooler 2011 vintage, this iteration of Obsidian has as much structure and power as the 2010, while offering a fuller mid-palate, making the wine feel more complete than previous vintages.
Like the 2009, the 2010 took time to reveal its aromas – only recently have things like tobacco, violet, licorice, cherries, and chocolate begun to emerge. Consistent with previous examples of Obsidian – confirming the power of the terroir – the palate is supple and incredibly structured. Fleshier than 2009, the 2010 still maintains strong scaffolding awaiting more development to fill out the wine. The finish is long, very long, and invites a meal with strong flavors and rich textures.
Wine Advocate: 96pts
In 2009, with a greater perspective on what each vineyard section offers, we were able to refine the wine and optimize each section of the vineyard. The 2009 Obsidian has been veiled in mystery for most of its development. Only recently have aromas of wet rock, lilac, bacon, and chocolate begun to emerge. As seems to be consistent with the 2009 vintage as a whole, the palate is supple and incredibly structured. One can sense strong scaffolding awaiting more flesh to develop and fill out the wine. Not as voluptuous or open as the 2008 right now, it may be better built and more complex and may outlast its immediate predecessor.
Wine Advocate: 99pts
Largesse is a fair moniker for the 2008, but it is not all in the mouth feel but rather in the explosive yet pure aromatics that emerge from this wine. And while warm vineyards in Knight’s Valley are at risk of producing juicy, jammy, fruit laden monsters where terroir can indeed be lost; the ‘08 Obsidian syrah is something else. It has intense savory aromas of grilled meat, tobacco, wet stones, and lavender all laid over a foundation of intense blackberry and cherry. So while fruit still seems to be at the core, this is a big wine that is nothing less than exactly what the site “wants” to produce: mineral driven, dense, chewy, savory, and fruity wine. The kitchen sink: or in other words, Obsidian terroir!
Wine Advocate: 96-99pts