2016 Gamine Syrah
Applegate Valley AVA
Kate is so honored that her personal wine project, Gamine Wines, has been so well received, compelling her to keep making the wines that are influenced by the regions, styles and varieties that her mother, Sylviane, loves and drinks! (Think Champagne down to the Rhone!)
Kate partners with grower Herb Quady on her Mae’s Vineyard Syrah. Herb grew up in the family of the famed Quady Winery in California’s Central Valley, and later became the vineyard manager for Randall Graham’s Bonny Doon wine empire, before coming north to southern Oregon with his sights on applying organic farming techniques to a region with mostly undiscovered vineyard potential. His Mae’s Vineyard block slopes southeast into the Applegate Valley in what can only be said as one the prettiest spots we’ve seen in the state. Loamy/clay and marine sediment overlay sits on top of a large granite slab (yes granite!), which makes this a truly distinctive site to work with.
2016 was a return to cool climate greatness. After two uncharacteristically and record setting consecutively hot and dry years that began during the summer of 2014, the hot and dry spell finally relented in the late spring of 2016. Yes, the warm 2015/2016 winter meant an early start to the 2016 season in March, but the key months from flowering to harvest were nearly textbook perfect conditions.
Kate has been able to really get a good sense of the site and has developed a fermentation style that is inspired by the juxtaposition of intensity and elegance of Syrahs from the Northern Rhone. This wine is a study in tension and release. The fermentation includes small amounts of Viognier and is post macerated on the skins for a few weeks to further integrate the early chewy tannins that Syrah is known for. Ageing is held in a mix of new, neutral, and stainless barrels to retain freshness, while incorporating the structure of oak tannins.
The 2016 Gamine Syrah has a tremendous amount of balance and finesse. The wine’s aromatics lead with nicely integrated oak, lightly toasted cardamom, clove, heather, and bramble. The wine’s characteristic leather notes come out on the palate, which is feminine and ethereal, old-world in balance, nimble and not too weighty.
Alc - 14.1%