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Located just west of the heart of the Russian River Valley, Walker Vine Hill is surrounded by Pinot noir and Chardonnay. The secret of the vineyard seems to be the small hills on three compass points that form a bowl opened toward the east. This shelters the property from some of the cool air of the Russian River, raising the temperatures enough throughout the season to produce a wine with a core of blue fruit. Nearly two years in oak softens and adds complexity and the final blend is driven by an extremely seductive nose with chocolate covered blueberries, red currants, and clove unfolding on the nose. The palate is densely constructed with velvety tannins and a long, full finish.
In 2012, Donelan fermented seven different lots from Walker Vine Hill, with varying degrees of stem-inclusion and oak regimes, maximizing the intricate layers within the vineyard. The backbone of the 2012 Syrah is the original, 20-year old planting, providing vivid blueberry and focused structure. Other blocks strike distinct yet harmonious chords – a younger parcel with smaller clusters lends concentration; yet another adds spiced-plum, exotic in a Syrah. The result is a cuveé within a single vineyard, adorning a seductive Syrah in a sophisticated veil.