Ruben Solorzano Syrah 2019
Grape Whisperer Ruben Solorzano planted the first test vineyard that would pave the way for the other GREAT PLACES vineyards, back in 2007. Ruben crammed 6,000 pre-clonal Syrah vines (that he had secretly acquired) onto one beautiful hillside in marching rows of diagonal trellises directly above Ballard Creek. Each vine yields just two tiny, concentrated Syrah clusters. This wine was named Ruben’s Block for its first decade of production, 2008-2017, and in 2018, the wine joins THE GREAT PLACES brand, as its founding block, alongside the debut vintage of 2018 August James Syrah. Up to 4 other pre-clonal Syrah strains growing on other Limestone exposures may soon join THE GREAT PLACES, only if the quality is as good as we hope and expect.
Great Places Syrah
Syrah that make the cut into our highest tier “The Great Places” label come from just 8 acres of our steepest hillsides where we have taken an approach unprecedented in the New World. First, the pre-clonal strains are wholly unique and selected from 100+ year-old vineyard sites. The “pre-clonal” vines ripen both grapes and clusters that are much smaller and more concentrated than modern Syrah clones that have been bred for vigor and productivity. Then, this Syrah material is planted own-rooted and head pruned at just 2.5 x 3 feet spacing. Each vine puts all of its energy into ripening 2-3 clusters of concentrated, complex fruit. All work is done by hand. The brand is named after one of our favorite Serine parcels in Cote-Rotie “Les Grandes Places”.
Grape Whisperer Ruben Solorzano planted the first test vineyard that would pave the way for the other GREAT PLACES vineyards back in 2007. Ruben crammed 6,000 pre-clonal Syrah vines (that he had secretly acquired) onto one beautiful hillside in marching rows of diagonal trellises directly above Ballard Creek.
A hallmark collector’s year at Stolpman Vineyards, the even, moderate weather of 2019 gave us a smooth, seamless, elegant vintage with ample fresh acidity for long-term cellaring. Wines are nuanced and when enjoyed young, benefit from decanting.
A unique breadth of red-purple-black fruit gives way to a plush body. With air, blacker, smokier and savory notes strike up, adding intrigue. Classic, serious Syrah olive and sangre, all the while with lovely red perfume still persisting. One of the least tannic Ruben’s Block vintages since 2008, the wine is delicious out of the gate in a serious, contemplative way but will certainly blossom after 3-5 more years in bottle.