Anthill Farms 2009 Sonoma Coast Peters Vineyard Syrah

I’ve already tried the Campbell Syrah (which I loved) for this blog so I’ve been looking forward to trying the Peters, which comes in at a little higher price point.  Right off the bat, I can tell this wine is a decidedly savory example of cool-climate Syrah.  The nose has hints of smoke with pure, bright blueberry mixed with aromas of earth and rocks.  The mid-palate is full with a touch of lean sweetness.  It’s not a rich wine, which makes me think that the oak is much less pronounced.  Come to think of it, there’s really not even a hint of oak on this wine.  The mid-palate transitions to a nice, smoky finish with an acidic lift with few tannins.

As the wine opened up, I was still struck by the high acidity in this wine and I got a little less smoke on the nose and more gravel.  There’s also a nerviness with this wine which I’m tempted to call minerality.  I confess, I still don’t know what minerality is, or even if it exists; but if it does, this wine has it.  I’ve heard the venerable Randall Graham describe it as a nervy combination of dryness and lift on the palate, which describes this wine perfectly.

Just like the Campbell Ranch Syrah, this wine feels like it needs a rich cheese, and I wish I had a big hunk of triple cream to pair with it.  I could also see it being perfect with a roast chicken and veggies, something that I might normally pair with a Pinot Noir.  This is a great food wine.  The lack of oak lets the fruit and savory elements sing and it begs for food.

In fact, this is a wine that, like Pinot, is actually very light on its feet.  It reminds me of a ballet dancer, and it seems, in essence, to be very feminine.  It’s not a brawny Syrah and it’s definitely not a wine I would call big or rich, which is something that I might venture to say about the Neyers Lakeville I recently tried.

The grapes for this Syrah come from the Peters Vineyard near Sebastopol.  It’s at the northern edge of the Petaluma Gap and the grapes were planted in a low and foggy section of the vineyard.  Anthill Farms believe in low-impact wine making that exemplifies the fruit most of all and lets the vineyard sing.  This philosophy has led them to take a low profile as winemakers.  The consequence of this for my purposes here is that there’s very little information out there about the wine making process.  Suffice to say, whatever they’re doing is a good thing and I hope they do more of it.

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