Here at Ridge Vineyards, we are very excited about our participation this month in an absolutely wonderful endeavor entitled “Pneumonia’s Last Syrah.” If you’re not yet familiar with this campaign, below you’ll find a little background to hip you up to what this is all about; the text was generated by Rhone Rangers, America’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to promoting American Rhone varietal wines (our very own David Gates serves on the board!):
A recent article by Eric Asimov in the New York Times began “There’s a joke going around West Coast wine circles: What’s the difference between a case of syrah and a case of pneumonia? You can get rid of the pneumonia.” As America’s leading organization dedicated to the promotion of American Rhone varieties (of which Syrah is the most widely planted) Asimov’s article, and the response on Huffington Post by pneumonia expert Dr. Orin Levine of Johns Hopkins Medical Center, got our attention.
We share the feeling many Rhone producers have had for years that more could be done to bring attention to this wonderful grape. So, the Rhone Rangers, in conjunction with Dr. Levine and the GAVI Alliance, have created Pneumonia’s Last Syrah.
Recognizing that pneumonia can be stopped by a vaccine that costs $10, members of the Rhone Rangers invite you to celebrate their commitment to donate $10 for each case of American Syrah sold to consumers in the month of November toward providing urgently needed pneumonia vaccines to children in the world’s poorest countries.
As participants, Ridge Vineyards will be donating $1 for every bottle of Ridge Syrah sold in November, and to coincide with this happening, we’ll be releasing our new 2006 Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache! We think this is an absolutely wonderful wine, and should you happen to agree, then please consider purchasing a bottle. Or two. Or ten! Not only will you have a terrific wine to enjoy, but you’ll be helping us to contribute to a really wonderful cause.
The new 2006 Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache is one of our most highly anticipated ATP offerings (for those of you not familiar with this acronymn, it stands for Advanced Tasting Program, and it’s the name of one of our membership programs here; the one through which we release all of our limited-production winery-only wines), and based on my early tastings, I think this vintage is going to be an outstanding contribution to the Ridge Syrah canon. Here are my first-pass tasting notes from last week:
Ridge Vineyards 2006 Lytton Estate Syrah/Grenache
Right out of the gate, what I’m loving about this new release is a) the extent to which the grenache is already emerging out from under the proverbial black umbrella of Syrah into the sunshine of equitable aesthetic influence (something we didn’t see happen with the 2005 until quite a bit more bottle aging had occurred), and b) the interstellar array of aromatic and taste complexities on offer … The bouquet is tremendously rich, and shows a great spectrum of flavor components: dusky dark berry characteristics laced with cocoa liquor, sweet and succulent plum notes, a fascinatingly mysterious and savory middle layer evoking fire-roasted tomatoes and grilled red peppers, bright and vivacious high-tone red fruit delivering wickedly beguiling acidity, and an archetypal Rhone dusting of white pepper and tarragon herbality … All these notes resolve into an intensely compressed mid-tone-driven front-of-palate profile, with plum and a hint of raspberry being the dominant qualities … The tannins are astonishingly, and I mean astonishingly, supple and refined; powdery without being chalky, firm without being adhesive, structured without being ungainly. In short, astonishing … The viscosity evident in the legs makes its presence felt in the back half of the mid-palate profile, drawing the primary taste sensations away from the cheeks and towards the tongue; accordingly, the sweeter side of the wine emerges, drawing an elegantly silken layer across the percolating acidity … The finish is sweet and savory to the point of decadence, though the viscosity tapers and accordingly refocuses the acidity; flavors linger long, and the robustness of the overall profile lays with grace in the chest for what seems like hours after … Really, really wonderful, this wine.
The Pneumonia’s Last Syrah campaign will run throughout the full of November, so we very much hope you’ll have an opportunity to join us in enjoying some great wine, and contributing to a great cause!