2004 Sonoma Coast Syrah
Syrah • Sonoma Coast Adobe Vineyard
California: Sonoma Coast
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Ceja Vineyards.
LIBRARY RAID ALERT!: Our good friends at Ceja love our Operatives. For this sale, they dug deep into their personal library, making available the last 10 cases in the world of today’s wine. THANK YOU, CEJA! We are honored!
SAVINGS ALERT!: If you are lucky enough to grab 6 or more bottles of this great wine before we sell out, use coupon code SUPERSONOMA and we’ll give you Free Ground Shipping
EXCEPTIONAL WINE ALERT!: Ceja Wines are among our favorite California wines. Today’s wine is fantastic. We only wish there was more of it available…
Mission Codename: The Final Syrah
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Respond to Top Secret communication from Ceja Vineyards, stating that their final ten cases have been made available, exclusively for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Ceja Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Sonoma Coast Syrah
Winemakers: Armando Ceja
Backgrounder: Agent Red and our field Operatives fell in love with Ceja Vineyards Vino de Casa, a Red Blend featured here recently. What made such a big impression on Agent Red was what he described as “a perfect 50/50 flavor profile that, remarkably, evenly layers Pinot Noir and Syrah to give the wine 2 distinctly different flavors – an even balance of the two grape varietals made to create a remarkable red blend”. For todays mission, Agent Red returns to Ceja to taste their Syrah and to determine if this wine, this Sonoma Valley Syrah, is among the best he has tasted in California. Read the full mission briefing below for full details.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Ruby red to burgundy in color with perfect clarity with a deep and darkening heart of garnet, a bouncy surface, concentrated color to the edges fat, tightly-spaced legs
Smell – Dark, rich, juicy and and earthy with beautiful hit of fruit of dark stonefruit, blackberry, cherry, mild raspberry and mild smoked bacon
Feel – Round and slightly cooling at first, then slightly grippy with soft tannins that dry the lips, cheeks and tongue
Taste – This wine presents delicious and juicy Syrah flavors, but with a slight brightness that makes it unique. Here you will find balanced savory and fresh flavors of dark cherry, plum, smoky blackberry, white pepper, leather, rhubarb and cedar
Finish – Long, dry and slightly tart, this delicious leaves behind lingering and mouth watering flavors
Conclusion – Ceja wines always impress me with their drinkability, their spirit and their quality. Today’s wine is no exception. The only negative is that we could only get our hands on ten cases! I can’t complain, though, we are really honored that our friends at Ceja would give us their last ten cases. This exceptional wine is an easy drinker, but it has its sincere side, with deep flavors and rich aromatics. Enjoy now, and if you have the patience, cellar a few bottles for up to seven more years for a different experience.
Ceja wines are SO good that this is the fourth time we have featured them here. Presented here, for your knowledge, is a re-telling of our first mission to Ceja Winery:
Between missions I was enjoying some downtime at my favorite Napa wine lounge, when an urgent dispatch came through on my Wine Spy handheld. Central Command had received a flurry urgent inquiries for a GREAT red wine – for less than $20.
“Leave your misconceptions behind”, was the clear directive. “Find us a wine that drinks well above its price, and find it TODAY!”
I had just one problem: I was hungry!
I asked the owner of the lounge where I could pick up great Mexican food. Before he could answer, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Turning as I reached instinctively for my corkscrew I saw young man with a flashing smile.
“Like Tacos?” he asked.
“Uhh. Yeah. Love ’em,” I replied.
“And great wine, too?”
“Who doesn’t?” I said.
“Follow me,” he said.
After a short car ride later we turned into the driveway for Ceja Vineyards, a winery that I had heard only great things about.
Stepping out of the car, the aromas hit me. Spices, beans, grilled meat and… red wine.
The young man, who introduced himself as Ariel Ceja, led me into a small outbuilding adjacent to the tasting room. Inside was smiling woman who hugged me as I entered. Ariel introduced me to his grandmother and invited me to sit down. Inside this room, the aromas were intoxicating.
Ariel handed me a glass of red wine, explaining that this was their family’s favorite wine. A deep sniff, a swirl and a taste was all it took for me to fall in love with their wine. The tacos were incredible as well and we laughed and shared stories. And more wine.
Postscript: After filing my report with Central Command, I spent the balance of the day with the Ceja family, eating, drinking, roaming their vineyards. It was hard to leave at the end of the day, but at least I left with a feeling that this day had been among my luckiest – and most rewarding – as a Wine Spy. I got to spend time with great people and enjoy their hospitality. And their great wine.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of Ceja’s Adobe Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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Vinum, cantus, amor… Wine, song, love. Trademark words for Ceja Vineyards and the Ceja Family, third generation growers in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. We match vines to Terroir, planting each variety were it grows best. Fruit is handled gently to create our limited collection of hand crafted wines that are complex, perfectly balanced and memorable. Enjoy with family, friends and your favorite dishes.
The 2005 Sonoma Coast Syrah has aromas of blueberries and white pepper enveloped by smoke and game with rhubarb pie, leather, with hints of spice and menthol on the palate. This is a savory wine that keeps evolving with an array of flavors!
About Ceja Vineyards:
Welcome to Ceja Vineyards. Each day as we gaze at the surrounding vineyards, we are reminded of the first Ceja vine. Planting our first vine together in rich Carneros soil was an exciting moment. That vine symbolized our bond as a family and strengthened our shared commitment to produce premium wines. We proudly continue a three-generation tradition of growing choice grapes in the beautiful Napa and Sonoma Valleys. We invite you to join us on our journey.
As you explore our website you’ll see, repeated often, a bell with the Latin inscription: vinum (wine), cantus (song), and amor (love). In Mexico, church bells ring to reveal the time, announce community celebrations or call parishioners to church. We have adopted the bell as our trademark, and symbolically ring it now to invite you to become a part of Ceja Vineyards.
Terroir, (pronounced tair wahr), is a French term and strictly translated refers to the earth. In the Carneros Region, the term is defined as a special set of conditions encompassing all the components that affect the grapes grown here. The soil’s chemistry and physical structure, the slope and orientation of the hills and valleys and the weather are all factors of terroir.
Located approximately 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, the Carneros Region’s moderate climate is created by fog, moist air, and cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean. Protected from harsh weather by the Coastal Range, Carneros summer days are warm with cool nights and winters are mild. As a result, grapes stay on the vine longer, reaching high acidity and full flavor development.
At Ceja Vineyards, we match vines to terroir, planting each variety where it grows best. Our wines are a true reflection of their origins.
Harvest Date: 11/04/2004
Vineyard: Sonoma Coast Adobe Vineyard
Brix at Harvest: 24.5⁰
Fermentation: Open vat fermentation cold soak, extended maceration.
Aging Process: 26 months in new French barrels and second fill French barrels.
Varietal Composition: 100% Syrah.
Apellation: Sonoma Coast
Production Quantity: 360 cases