As soon as I opened this wine, I could tell it was going to be another great example of cool-climate Syrah.
At first I got black olive tapenade on the nose. This wine is decidedly savory but does have some fruit. It has a floral character to it also. As the wine opened up I also got some aromas of salted plum (which is one of my most favorite things in the world). Also some cranberry. It has a smoky meaty character that reminded me of beef jerky (another one of my favorite things). This is not just your classic Cabernet with dark fruit and cassis aromas, these Syrahs bring exciting aroma profiles to the table that no other wines in California are doing.
There’s a liveliness on the mid-palate that I like. It’s definitely a dry wine and sucks a lot of moisture out of the palate. But that’s what I like and makes the wine perfect for pairing with food. There’s a good grip on the finish, accompanied by orange rind and smoke flavors. As you can tell by my tasting notes for the cool-climate Syrahs that I’ve been writing about, these wines are seriously interesting.
This Bedrock is super well made and another delicious example of cool-climate Syrah. So far, I’ve had no stinkers. Of course, these aren’t cheap wines so I would expect them to be made well, but it makes me wonder why they aren’t more popular. Are they too dry and possibly too austere for the general public? Bedrock is another super popular winery right now and when you look at the wines they have available at K and L, their Sonoma Coast Syrah is one of the cheaper ones. In fact, it’s priced about the same as their Albariño. This surprises me, because this Syrah is an incredible wine.
Part of me will be happy if California Syrah remains cheaper and relatively easy to get but the other part of me worries that if consumers don’t realize the unique qualities of Syrah grown in California’s cooler climes then they might eventually get phased out for something more popular like Pinot.
Bedrock Wine Company is the brainchild of Morgan Twain-Peterson who is the son of Joel Peterson of Ravenswood Winery fame (all of us Sonomans will remember Ravenswood’s “No Wimpy Wines” marketing campaign). He is most interested in celebrating California’s most distinct vineyards and, in fact, is a board member of an Historic Vineyard Society group dedicated to preserving some of California’s oldest vineyards. Based on what I had read about Bedrock wines, I had expected this wine to be darker and richer and more of a Shiraz style wine. Twain-Peterson seems to make a lot of wine from vineyards that are from warmer sites and older vines like his father did and I expected this wine to follow in that vein. But, that is not the case. Not to say that this wine is wimpy, but it is elegant and lithe, which is not something I’d say about his father’s wines.
To sum up, there’s just a brightness to this wine that you can’t find in a California Cabernet, or, for that matter, in very few wines at all California. Twain-Peterson professes to be attempting be making truly unique California wine and indeed this tastes nothing like the oaky, dark fruit, sweet California wines that are all too prevalent. The Bedrock Wine Company Sonoma Coast Syrah 2010 sets itself apart from run-of-the-mill wines and gives us another glimpse into the vast potential for Syrah in California.