2019 Colgin IX Syrah
Wine Details for 2019 Colgin IX Syrah
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: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
: Something magical occurred when two ancient French grapes procreated and the varietal of Syrah entered the world of winegrowing. The exact time period of its inception is still undetermined; however, the origin of Syrah’s parentage confirms it was birthed in the Rhone Valley. DNA testing performed by UC Davis has indicated that Syrah is the progeny of the varietals Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche, both of Rhone origin. Syrah dominates its native homeland of Northern Rhone and has become one of the most popular grape varietals in the world.
Syrah, Shiraz and Petite Sirah have often been confused and misunderstood, some consumers believing them to all be the same grape, while others thinking the opposite. Petite Sirah is actually the offspring of Syrah and Peloursin and though related, is an entirely different grape variety. Its official name is Durif, for the name of the French nurseryman who first propagated the varietal in the 1880s; it is called Petite Sirah in California (due to the resemblance of Syrah, but smaller berries). Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape. Producers in Australia have been labelling Syrah as “Shiraz” since James Busby first introduced the varietal to the continent. The Scottish viticulturist brought Syrah from France to Australia in the middle of the 18th century and labelled the cuttings as “Sycras” and “Ciras,” which may have led to the naming. Most California vintners label their bottlings as Syrah and of course in French style and tradition, the name of the village or area the grape is cultivated dictates the label name.
The Syrah grape is at home in Northern Rhone where the climate is cool and the terroir is filled with gravel, schist, limestone, iron, granite and sandy soils. It thrives on rocky, hilly terrain with a southern exposure, due to its need for sunlight. Syrah is a very vigorous grape with a spreading growth habit. The berries are small to medium oval shaped blue-black and tend to shrivel when ripe.
Today, Syrah is one of the most popular and widely planted grape varietals in the world, covering almost 190,000 hectares across the earth’s surface. It is the only red grape variety permitted by AOC regulations in the appellations of Hermitage and Cote-Rotie, where it has breathed life into some of the most tremendous wines on the planet. Languedoc-Roussilon has the most surface area planted in France with 43,200 hectares dedicated to Syrah. The varietal is used for blending in Southern Rhone, Provence and even Bordeaux. Syrah has spread worldwide from Australia to California and South Africa to Spain creating the ‘New World’ hype of the varietal. Since the 1990’s, Syrah winegrowing and production has increased exponentially; for example, in 1958 there were a mere 2,000 hectares planted in France. By 2005 that number increased to over 68,000 hectares and today it is well over 70,000. The same holds true for California, Australia and other ‘New World’ producers that have jumped “all in.” World-wide there are approximately 190,000 hectares of Syrah currently being cultivated.
The allure of Syrah has taken the world by storm, but is important to note where the hype began. Long before Syrah was being stamped with ‘New World’ or of ‘cult status,’ the tremendous quality of Hermitage was being written about in Thomas Jefferson’s diary. Today, the grape variety can be grown, fashioned, named and enjoyed in a myriad of ways, but the quality of Syrah grape remains the same – incredible.
: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.
Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
: Colgin Cellars burst onto the scene with the 1992 vintage and immediately carved itself a formidable reputation among collectors and connoisseurs alike. The handcrafted ultra-premium red wines are produced in miniscule amounts and have a three year waiting list just to be placed on the actual mailing list. A rare breed of Napa Valley that delivers just as much in investment as it does pleasure. Colgin is a producer that keeps enthusiasts fascinated with wine and thrusts Napa Valley and California into the spotlight of world class winemaking.
Many winemaking ventures are birthed by the desire to attain a lifestyle synonymous with the joy and happiness that wine brings. Perhaps it is a desire to craft something that others can become captivated by and enjoy with family. Ann Colgin is no exception; she began her venture out of love for Napa Valley and her passion for wine. Though it seemed to be an overnight sensation with the debut of her 1992 vintage, it was not as if a 125-acre empire was implanted in the heart and soul of Napa Valley. Colgin’s sheer determination and passion drove her efforts grape by grape, vineyard by vineyard.
After attending the Napa Valley Wine Auction in the late 1980’s, Colgin’s fascination with winemaking came to fruition in 1992 when she was able to source fruit from the famed Herb Lamb vineyard and crafted her own wine. It was released in 1995 and set the market on fire. Her ambition would not be placated and in the years following would purchase small historic vineyard sites near and around the St. Helena, Rutherford, and Oakville districts. Finally in 1998, her acquisition of a 125 acre parcel on Pritchard Hill, over-looking Lake Hennessey, enabled her to build the wine-making facility, and thus continuing her dream.
Though 2007 was the final year of Colgin’s Herb Lamb offering, it does not diminish its significance nor the pride that helped drive a vintner towards greatness. Trailing in its success are three tremendous vineyard sites that were diligently acquired by Ann Colgin, each offering elegant characteristics from their own unique terroir; from the rocky hillsides of Cariad in St. Helena, overlooking the heart of Napa Valley to the steep East facing slopes of IX Estate on Pritchard Hill, to the historic vineyard of Tychson Hill originally planted in the 19th century.
Cariad is perched upon rich, volcanic, stony soil with gravelly-alluvium, with bountiful sunlight and a cool climate stretching out over some of Napa’s finest land. It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, which enjoys opulence and structure characterized by exotic notes of violet, dark fruit, and a gravelly minerality. Tychson Hill, named for Josephine Tychson, who originally planted the vineyard in 1860, is constructed with weathered, volcanic rocks with reddish-brown stone and obsidian. This singular expression of Cabernet Sauvignon reveals intense, deep layers of crème de cassis, barbecue smoke, graphite, blackberry and fresh cut flowers. Finally, the IX Estate Syrah consists of well drained, reddish clays with weathered, igneous rocks carved from ancient lava flows and offers both a unique, Northern Rhone inspired Syrah, as well as the “IX Estate” label which is a powerful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, and exudes towering aromatics of dark fruits, savory herbs and spice.
The wines of Colgin Cellars can be enjoyed young, but also have the ability to age gracefully for years to come. With a miniscule annual production of 2,600-2,800 cases produced and a waiting list for a waiting list, the wine is as great an investment as it is a joy to own, drink or collect. Of course it doesn’t hurt when Colgin has been named “One of the Fifty Greatest Wine Estates in the World,” by Robert Parker in 2005. He also stated that Ann Colgin’s pride and joy, “IX Estate is as close to a viticultural nirvana as I have ever seen.” Colgin has crafted a product that radiates elegance, inspires memories, and brings joy and happiness to all who have the pleasure of encountering it.
James Suckling | 100 JS
Lastly, Colgin only makes a tiny amount of Syrah, but it’s consistently one of the greatest expressions of the variety in California, as well as the world. Their 2019 Syrah delivers the goods and brings a Côte Rôtie-like opulence and elegance as well as full-bodied aromas and flavors of blueberries, violets, smoke game, bouquet garni, and spring flowers. Pure, seamless, and perfectly balanced, you can safely put this up with anything out there. Enjoy bottles over the coming 15 years.
Jeb Dunnuck | 98 JD
Sporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2019 IX Syrah Estate hops up and down with its showy, flamboyant scents of chocolate-covered cherries, mulberries and preserved plums, before bursting into a gorgeous perfume of bouquet garni, candied violets, tar and roses, followed by unsmoked cigars with a waft of Sichuan pepper. The generous, full-bodied palate offers beautifully rounded, pebble-like tannins with invigorating freshness and so many fragrant layers that linger with edifying persistence. An absolute diva of a wine!
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 98+ RP
The 2019 Syrah IX Estate is deep, plush and super-expressive. The Colgin Syrah is so unique, as it is much a wine of place as it is a varietal Syrah. Huge fruit and captivating aromatics make a strong opening statement. All the elements simply fall into place. In 2019, the Syrah is simply exceptional. All that said, readers need to cellar the 2019 for at least a few years, as today the fruit remains very front and center, and true Syrah notes have not yet started to emerge.
Antonio Galloni | 97 AG
Potent and polished, with deeply structured blueberry, smoked meat, licorice and fruitcake spice flavors that gather richness and tension toward broad-shouldered tannins. To be released November 2022. Drink now through 2032. 400 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 94 WS