Appellation: Edna Valley
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Clones: Estrella River, 383
Oak treatment: 22 months in 40% new French oak
Cases made: 220
Release date: March 2012
Retail price: $48.00
91 Points: "The two Syrahs are the standouts among these new releases from Chamisal" - Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate
Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now contains 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. The nearby Pacific Ocean creates a long temperate growing season for exceptional hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.
The third year of a drought was combined with a cool spring and summer. A long, slow ripening curve followed with a classic Indian summer of warm October weather. This pushed our late-ripening Rhone varietals to peak ripeness.
The name Califa means "most beautiful one" in a local native language, and from the moment of harvest, we begin identifying the best clones and barrels of the vintage to bear this designation. This vintage, Clone 383 was the clear standout. The berries were hand picked at night and meticulously sorted by hand, then gently destemmed and gravity fed into small open top fermentors. After a three-day cold soak, a long, cool fermentation was initiated using native yeasts. Gentle pumpovers were utilized to optimize extraction. Following fermentation, the wine was racked to large format 500 liter French oak barrels. After 16 months, four barrels were selected for our Califa program, blended and put back to barrel for an additional six months.
Of our three Syrah clones, only one was chosen to be showcased in this bottling: Clone 383. In 2009, this clone stood alone above the rest and required no blending.
Our 2009 Califa Syrah presents an effusive boquet of black berry fruits merged with hints of violet and underlying oak. Extremely rich in the palate, it offers copious, mouth-filling black plum fruit balanced by complex savoury notes. Long, lingering tannins promise graceful aging.