2004 Sonoma Valley Syrah
Syrah • Caton Vineyard
California: Sonoma Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Divine Sustenance
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Ty Caton Vineyards to retrieve Ty’s fabled Gold-medal winning 2004 Syrah
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Ty Caton Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2004 Ty Caton Syrah
Winemaker: Ty Caton
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 bold delight with original flavors, deep aromatics and a ultra-fine mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and interesting mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep burgundy in color, with a deep and inky heart with deep color concentration right to the purple edges of the wine. When swirled, this wine shows a tight and springy surface that settles quickly, leaving behind fat legs that take a long time to emerge before they move down the glass at a medium pace
Smell – Deep blackberry, smoked plum, sweetwoods, cassis and burnt butterscotch. Dark and dusky, this wine delivers subtle follow-on aromatics of dried sweet leaves and fine spice
Feel – Very light and wet at the front of the palate, then soft and slightly dry with fine tannins on the mid-palate, leading to an all-over-mouth coating
Taste – Delicious, sweet and softly smoky, with initial bright flavors of dark mixed berries, burnt vanilla, soft oak, subtle licorice, black fig and mixed spice
Finish – Long and bold and big on flavor, this wine starts bright with rich fruit, then tails off with a slight smokey fig flavor that is delicious
Conclusion – A great wine that is very interesting, very delicious and beautifully balanced! Big, bright, bold, rich and delicious, this Syrah pleased me on many different levels. Ty Caton’s wines begin in his vineyards, which he farms with tender care and in a natural and sustainable manner. This care and stewardship absolutely shines through in all of his wines that I have had the distinct pleasure to imbibe. This very special wine from Ty is a pleasurable delight that delivers everything that a great California Syrah should.
Read about Agent Red’s original encounter with Ty Caton here when he discovered their Field Blend Red.
TY CATON: This is Ty.
AGENT RED: Ty Caton, Agent Red calling.
TY: Are we on a secure line?
RED: We are. I know how busy you are, so thanks for spending a few minutes with me today. Is harvest keeping you busy?
TY: Yes, but we’re about half way through. Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, and Petite Sirah are off – and next week the Cabernet Sauvignon will start to come off. By mid-month, we’ll be done and crush will continue. I won’t get a great until right around Thanksgiving!
RED: Such is the life of a winemaker, eh?!
TY: Indeed. I have to tell you, 2008 is looking really great. We had some crazy weather, but because of our elevation, we didn’t get hit hard by the frost like other wineries did.
RED: That’s good news! Tell me, Ty, how your career in winemaking began. Are you a lifer?
TY: Actually, I have a background in real estate development. When I was 26 years old, after completing a real estate project, I caught the wine bug. My parents has land in Napa. We became partners, and I began growing grapes.
RED: But that wasn’t enough for you, was it…
TY: No. I had made good friends with our neighbor, who was planting his vineyards at the same time. He turned out to be the winemaker for Ravenswood – and he continues with Ravenswood to this day.
RED: That’s Peter Mathis, right?
TY: Correct. We worked with Peter and, in 2000, released our first vintage. I’ve been honing my winemaking abilities ever since.
RED: I’d say that you’ve done a great job in that regard. Your 2005 Field Blend Red Wine is a super-delicious treat. Here at Wine Spies HQ, we really love the wine.
note: This was the wine we featured a few months ago. We like today’s Syrah even better!]
TY: Thanks. The Field Blend Red is a really special wine. I call it my ‘mini-TyTanium’.
RED: So-called for your TyTanium wine – your flagship, right?
TY: Exactly, but where my TyTanium is a $65 wine, this Field Blend is less than half the price.
RED: We declare the wine to have an exceptional QPR. Its really a great wine, with very distinctive layers of aromas and unique flavors. Its delicious!
TY: I’m glad that you like it. I pick grapes for flavor and blend for maximum effect. I strive to create head turning wines that are rich and deep, yet approachable and fun to drink.
RED: Congratulations, then! You’ve managed just that with all of the Ty Caton wines we have tasted!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Ty Caton Vineyards tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2008 SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE WINE COMPETITION
Gold Medal – 2007 SONOMA COUNTY HARVEST FAIR
About This Wine:
Combines aromas of smoke and butterscotch with flavors of blackberry, cassis and fig. This wine has a supple and voluptuous structure leading to a toasty oak finish.
About The Winery:
Ty Caton Vineyards is dedicated to creating wines of distinction with an authentic sense of place. Our commitment to excellence begins in the Caton Vineyard, where Winemaker Ty Caton sustainably farms all of the grapes used in our Sonoma Valley wine. As one of the few exclusively estate producers in Sonoma Valley, California, Ty personally works with the grapes from soil to glass. He handcrafts his wines in small lots with an acute awareness of the land that enables him to make wines that truly showcase the vineyards. Ty Caton Vineyards is forging a new definition of quality in winemaking and Actively Seeking Excellence.
About The Vineyard:
CATON VINEYARD – Located in the foothills of Sonoma Valley, the Caton Vineyard is defined by its sustainable farming and belief that healthier vineyards produce very unique and distinctive wines. The vineyards have multiple sun exposures, soil types, and vary in altitude over 300 feet between each other. Our meticulous farming practices showcase the love for our land and our passion for the wines that come from it.
We achieve wines of authenticity by working with nature to showcase the true flavors of the grapes. Ty Caton personally manages the entire winemaking process, from planting the vines, to farming the grapes, to making the wine here in Sonoma Valley. By using exclusively estate grown grapes he is able to have complete control over the process and personally tend to the wine from soil to glass. His acute awareness of the land enables him to make wines that show the great potential of the vineyard site.
Ty Caton’s philosophy is that wine is a natural product and should be treated as such. His winemaking uses limited intervention, which allows the wines to speak for themselves and import the true expression of the vineyard. He ferments with wild yeast that naturally occurs in the grapes so that the wines are manipulated as little as possible. As a Sonoma Valley winemaker and grape grower he strives to produce the ‘wow factor’ by creating wines that are bold, highly extracted and beautifully structured. Ty Caton believes that blending is an art form and uses master blending techniques to combine different grape varieties and clones to create wines with many layers of complexity in aroma and flavor. By allowing the grapes to show their true character and enhancing it through blending, Ty Caton is forging a new definition of quality in Sonoma Valley winemaking.
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Region: Estate Grown, Caton Vineyard
Production: 284 Cases
Bottled: June 2006