Donelan Debuts

It’s been a busy couple of months here at Donelan Family Wines. From traveling coast to coast to releasing five new wines to hosting new friends and old at the tasting room, we’ve been itching to share our latest news. There are two new Donelans in town! Introducing our latest debut wines: The 2016 Judge Vineyard Syrah and the 2015 Syrah Grande.

2016 Judge Vineyard Syrah

This inaugural wine can be described in three words: distinctive, aromatic, and expressive. “Anyone who pays attention to new world Syrah would have Judge Vineyard on their radar,” says Winemaker, David Milner. The vineyard is meticulously taken care of with the farmers and owners on-site. The minute it became available we knew we had to jump on the opportunity to make it ours. Judge Vineyard is one of our cooler sites, increasing fruit concentration and providing the tannins that give the Syrah its structure. The key to enjoying this wine is giving it time in the glass. Robert Parker gives it a 95+ rating due to its layers of fruit and textured tannins. On the palate, it’s a flavorful surprise as the acidity softens the bold, spicy flavors. The finish is long, dense, and just as flavorful as the first sip. With only 196 cases produced, this is a Donelan Syrah you don’t want to miss.


2015 Syrah Grande

Syrah Grande is a wine that allows us to dig down to the micro-level of terroir. After years of observation and experimentation, we isolated the afternoon sun-side of vine rows in the upper blocks of a vineyard that we work with. “The overall goal of this new wine is to encapsulate the vintage and to find unique blocks or pockets within vineyards that we currently work with,” says Winemaker, David Milner. The ripening curve for this section is a little ahead of the rest of the vineyard, think of it as a banana belt within the confines of a small 4.5 acre vineyard. We chose this particular micro-cru for the intense dark fruit profile, savory aromatics, and fine-grained tannin structure. Syrah Grande is a vessel that enables us to push boundaries in the spirit of continual improvement whilst being true to the terroir of the vineyard. Antonio Galloni gives this Syrah 96 points: “One of the many highlights of this range, the 2015 Syrah Grande is dense and powerful in the glass. A rich mélange of blueberry jam, white flowers, crushed rocks, lavender and menthol infuses this unctuous, full-bodied Syrah. A wine of weight and substance, the 2015 is simply fabulous. A superb debut.Only 50 cases were produced of this one-of-a-kind Donelan Syrah. It’s quite the show-stopper, so be sure to get your hands on a bottle or two.


We couldn’t be more excited to add these two wines to the Donelan portfolio and share them with you! Donelan wines are meant to be opened with the ones we love most and to create memories one bottle at a time. We would love to host you at our boutique winery in the heart of Santa Rosa and create memories that will last a lifetime. Be sure to send us your Donelan wine experiences on social media. Cheers! 

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