Astrale e Terra
2004 Estate Syrah
Syrah • Estate Vineyard
California: Napa Valley: Atlas Peak
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is a truly exemplary Syrah, earning it this special award. We always bring you wines of the highest quality, but when one really shies, we issue a special alert.
The wine drinks way above its price class, earning it this QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert. We issue these when we show a wine that delivers a fantastic value.
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Mission Codename: In the Balance
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Astrale e Terra’s 2003 Syrah was a hit with our Operatives. Return to the winery, and secure an allocation of their 2004 Syrah
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Astrale e Terra
Wine Subject: 2004 Atlas Peak Syrah – Napa Valley
Winemaker: Scott Harvey
Backgrounder: Our Operatives love a great Syrah, and they snap them up in record numbers, bucking the industry trends which suggest that Syrah sales are slightly declining. Our Operatives has proven that they are ahead of the curve in so many ways, especially when it comes to purchasing a great wine. Today, Agent Red visits with Astral e Terra, whose Atlas Peak Syrah is a delicious and bodacious interpretation of the noble varietal. As an added bonus to today’s great selection, we are happy to report that our old friend, Scott Harvey is the winemaker!
_Varietal Backgrounder_: The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s delightful Syrah is a big and bold delight with richly dark flavors, deep aromatics and a plush mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest ruby hued, with a deeper and darker (but still clear) core. The color is concentrated and even, right out to the edge of the glass. Legs start high up on the glass and then go ultra-thin before rushing to the surface.
Smell – Warm and massively fragrant, with big blackberry, cherry candy, raspberry, black cherry and ripe strawberry. As the wine opens up, aromas of softly toasted oak, dried fall leaves, milk chocolate and black pepper emerge, really balancing out the fruit-forward nose.
Feel – Soft and supple on entry, then the wine gently coats the entire palate. Plush tannins bring out a crushed velvet feel as the wine slowly dries the palate.
Taste – Dark fruit and earthen flavors combine, delivering bold blackberry, black cherry, dark raspberry, plum and tart dried cranberry. These meld easily with toasty oak, dried leaves, crushed dried flower petals, dusty bramble and soft spice. Black pepper and slate complete the experience – at the tail end.
Finish – Ultra-long, with dark fruit outlasting the red fruit flavors. As the palate dries, flavor remains, taking a long time to tail off. After a long time, bramble, black pepper and slate offer a soft and mouthwatering ending.
Conclusion – Umm, WOW! I went crazy for the 2003, but this 2004 Atlas Peak Syrah from Astrale e Terra is stupendous. This is a beautifully balanced wine. Flavors balance red against black, earth against fruit, spice against mineral; not in opposition, though. Aromatics follow suit. The feel is both soft and supple, with just the right amount of grip and spice. Balanced acidity makes this wine food friendly, which is a surprise for such a flavorful Syrah. I don’t mean to sound overly blustery about this wine, but I can’t help myself. Once again, Astrale E Terra and winemaker, Scott Harvey, blow us away!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Scott Harvey
DATE OF BIRTH: 3-24-54
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bamberg, Germany
WINE EDUCATION: 1975, I apprenticed at K. Fitz-Ritter Winery while attending the Weinbau Schule in Neustadt, Germany. Returned to Amador County to apprentice from Cary Gott at Montevina winery.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Montevina, In 1978, at the age of twenty-three, Scott took over as Head Winemaker for Story Winery
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Being European trained, I make wines to go with food—good acidity and low pH. The is considered old world style of winemaking.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Barbera
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Named 1 of the top 10 Winemakers in CA by Dan Berger
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: 2003 Scott Harvey Reserve Barbera being selected as 3rd best Barbera in the world outside of Italy.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “This wine will get you laid” (This is Scott’s famous quote but I’m not sure you’ll want to use it”)
AGENT RED: Greetings, Scott. We are thrilled to be showing the wine you made for Astrale e Terra today. You know that we have already shown your wines before – and that we are already devoted fans! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
SCOTT: Thank you, Red! Thanks for selecting another one of my wines for your Operatives
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
SCOTT: When I was sent to Germany as an AFS exchange student in high school, I was sent to a winemaking region of Germany. On my first day there, my “German family” handed me a glass of wine. I looked out the window at the vineyards below, got my German dictionary out and said, “does this wine come from those grapes?” They said “yes, do you want to see where it’s made?” ….and the rest is history.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
SCOTT: I got my basic training in Germany but my recent winemaking style I attribute to my mentor, Dr. Richard Peterson.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
SCOTT: Old world style. Wines that are drunk with food.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
SCOTT: Dr. Richard Peterson
RED: How long have you been making wine?
SCOTT: 37 years
RED: Who do you make wine for?
SCOTT: Myself, my wife, and our consumers
RED: Tell me, what makes Atlas Peak so special?
SCOTT: Only 2% of the world has a Mediterranean climate like Napa Valley with the warm days and cool nights along with its unique soils and geography.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
SCOTT: You need to be a very clean and neat person. 90% of winemaking is janitorial.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
SCOTT: Bottling the wines in the barrels. Getting ready for the 2009 harvest.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
SCOTT: It’s a full bodied Napa Valley Syrah from one of the best appellations in Napa Valley for Syrah—Atlas Peak.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
SCOTT: Duck breast.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
SCOTT: I like to iron my own shirts.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
SCOTT: People drink experiences. Have fun with the wine.
RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
SCOTT: Whatever my wife wants to drink.
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
SCOTT: Question: Do you plan to make any new wines? Answer: I’d love to make a Gewurtztraminer but my wife won’t let me.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work!
SCOTT: Thanks, again, Agent Red. Scott Harvey, over and out!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Atlas Peak region can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
The first thing you notice about the 2004 Syrah from our estate vineyard on Atlas Peak is its extraordinary deep purple hue, followed by vibrant aromas of raspberry, vanilla. lavender and toasty oak. Big flavors of bright cherry, black fruit and dried herbs fill the palate. Brilliantly complex and balanced, with elegant tannins that linger on the luxurious chocolate finish, this wine is a fantastic expression of Napa Valley Syrah!
About The Winery:
Whether we were traveling abroad or eating at our favorite local restaurant, we enjoyed experiencing a diverse array of wines and determining our own criteria for what made a wine special.
For a long time owning a winery was just a dream, until the day we found the piece of land that we knew could be the home of a very special wine. We were driving up a peaceful, winding road in a small valley in northern California, 1,250 feet above the main valley floor and sheltered by stony, majestic hills. As we gazed at the cloudless azure sky and the softly rolling hills laced with grapevines, it felt as though we were in another world. We knew this was where our dreams of winemaking were going to be made a reality.
That day, we sensed two powerful forces at work: heaven and the earth. ‘Astrale e Terra’ is Italian for ‘heaven and earth,’ and with our interest in astronomy and archaeology, the name’s inspiration seemed only natural. We look forward to sharing the fruits of our labor of love with you!
About The Winemaker:
SCOTT HARVEY – Consulting Winemaker, Scott Harvey ranks among California’s most celebrated and accomplished winemakers. He fi rst came to the attention of wine lovers and the wine trade as winemaker at Santino and Renwood where he crafted wines from some of California’s oldest vineyards and helped put the Sierra Foothills on the winemaking map. In 1996 he partnered with Richard Peterson, Ph’D at Folie a Deux winery in Napa Valley. There the winemaking duo garnered a reputation for outstanding Napa Valley wines produced from estate fruit as well as from vineyards across the Valley.
After selling Folie a Deux in 2004, Harvey created a series of new brands that took advantage of his experience in both the Sierra Foothills and Napa Valley. One reason Scott chose to work with Astrale e Terra is his extreme admiration for Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Atlas Peak appellation. According to Scott, “some of the best wines I’ve made have been produced from Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Atlas Peak Appellation.”
As Astrale e Terra’s Consulting Winemaker, Scott is charged with overseeing harvest, winemaking procedure and the blending of the various lots that Astrale e Terra bottles from its estate vineyards.
APPELLATION: Atlas Peak, Napa Valley
VARIETAL BLEND: 76% Syrah, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon
PRODUCTION: 374 Cases