Hilltops Syrah 2020
We first vineyard designated this cuvee from the modern-day Hilltops block in 2008, only 4 years after replanting the Estate’s center ridge to a variety of our favorite Syrah strains and clones. Since then, we have refined the Hilltops cuvee into a tight selection of our favorite micro-blocks within the greater hilltop.
Prior to 2008, the Hilltops wine came from a barrel selection of the most intense Syrah from all three ridges on the vineyard. With less clay topsoil and further exposed to the Ballard Canyon Pacific wind, the vines on the ridges yield lower for further concentration of flavor. Those grapes are now blended into the main Estate Grown Syrah cuvee.
The 2020 vintage started with much needed late rain in March and April. The cold moisture pushed back bud break and set up an anticipated late harvest. Ripening then accelerated with record breaking heat recorded in early September. Reliant on a deep root network straight into chalky Limestone, the Hilltops Syrah vines weathered the heat and marched through to late September in ideal ripening conditions.
Deep, brooding, and tarry with touches of toast, anise, and fresh herbs. Layer on layer from delicate chalk to mouth-filling viscosity. Charred dark fruit saturated by a creamy richness – blue, purple, and black density (as opposed to many of our 2020 Syrah cuvees that maintained a decidedly red-fruited profile). A serious Syrah conjuring images of a large piece of meat rotating on a spit over open flame.