One of the best things about having a blog like this is that it encourages me to take a chance on wines I’ve never heard of and it’s even better when I find out that they’re really good. Obviously this used to happen a lot more when I started this blog but the other day I picked up a bottle of a Syrah I’d never seen before at the Boonville Hotel in Anderson Valley. I was intrigued by the 12.6% ABV as I tend towards those lower alcohol styles of Syrah.
This beauty is a dead ringer for a Northern Rhone Syrah or even a Wind Gap Nellessen or Sonoma Coast Syrah. Olive, bramble, and graceful fresh fruit jump out of the glass. Earth and mineral mixed in there too. Perfectly balanced on the palate, not too much acid or tannin and energetic and full at the same time. Whole cluster deliciousness. This wine definitely surprised me, glad I took a leap of faith. Cool-climate Syrah lovers need to seek this out.
Photos courtesy of Joanna Wells
Model Farm is the project of winemakers Joanna Wells and Sean Castorani. Joanna is also assistant winemaker at Kutch wines and Sean is assistant winemaker at Rhys Vineyard. They are engaged to be married and have been wanting to start a small project on their own, so in 2013 they took a lease on a two-acre Syrah vineyard in the Petaluma Gap. The vineyard hasn’t had any name recognition but it is sometimes referred to as the Fuller vineyard. Sean and Joanna farmed the two acres by hand organically. They do 100% whole cluster and native yeast fermentation, foot stomping and also foot punchdowns. The barrique is 100% neutral oak for 18 months and the wines are unfiltered and unfined.
I’m thrilled to find a new wine that I enjoyed this much and I can’t wait to see how this project and this special vineyard progress under such skilled tutelage.