Aromas of leather, plum, strawberry, and cigar mixed with vanilla.The oak is a little pronounced for my palate but after the wine breathed a bit the fruit and savory elements became more pronounced.The palate has a lift of acidity that gives the wine a light and elegant character. There’s a touch of tannin and sweetness on the finish that reveals its California origins but as the name implies there is a European sense about this wine also. 92 pts.
Keller Estate is owned by Arturo and Deborah Keller. Arturo fell in love with the hills of the Petaluma Gap and bought the land there back in the 1980s. The property is now planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. The Petaluma Gap is an area defined by wind and fog. Every morning the fog collects in the valley and then is blown out in the afternoon by the intense cool coastal air as it rushes to warmer inland areas. Arturo’s daughter, Ana, took over the winemaking in 1998 and she says that it’s sometimes a challenge to ripen the Syrah. They also grow Viognier on the property and have to manage thinning the leaf canopy on the Syrah to get it to mature while doing the opposite on the Viognier to keep it from getting over-ripe too early.
The Syrah and 6-7% Viognier are co-fermented, there’s no whole cluster stem-inclusion on the wine. It sees about 25% new oak and spends 18 months in barrel.
Although the wine says Sonoma Coast, it really is a Petaluma Gap Syrah and Ana Keller has devoted a lot of energy to showing how her area deserves to be its own appellation. She and other growers and vintners have petitioned the government and wait for what seems to be an inevitable ruling in their favor. In the meantime Ana holds Petaluma Gap tastings to further interest consumers in what she believes are wines uniquely shaped by the wind and fog.
This is a Petaluma Gap Syrah that represents the Petaluma Gap well and I was excited to have the opportunity to taste it.
This wine was provided as a sample for purposes of review.