Club Little House - November

Syrah – Roark Wine Company (2013)

Winemaker: Ryan Roark

  • Soil: Sand
  • Age of Vines: 15 yrs
  • Grape Variety(s): Syrah
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard Canyon

How about some New World Syrah?! This wine comes from the only California producer we work withat the moment, Ryan Roark. We’d love to source more domestic wines, but to be honest, it’s EXTREMELY difficult to find wines that are both farmed organically and especially those that are made naturally. Ryan Roark is an exception and we are grateful! Ryan grew up in Texas. After attending Texas A&M, he apprenticed in several wineries in New Zealand before settling in Central California working with a vineyard management company. After a few years, Ryan started buying fruit from some of his favorite vineyards to make tiny batches of wine in what wouldbecome Roark Wine Company. Now six years in and full time with his winery, Ryan and his wife Jenn still only produce about 1,500 cases of wine per year from a combination of purchased fruit and from vineyards they organically farm themselves.

The 2013 Syrah starts with fruit that Ryan and Jenn farm themselves at a sandy site vineyard in Ballard Canyon, located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, CA. Given Ryan’s background, he places a special emphasis on particulars in the vineyard, especially when it comes time to harvest. Rather uniquely, they will harvest in 3-5 stages, cluster by cluster, in order to achieve the desired balance of ripeness and acidy NATURALLY, so that there is no need for manipulation in the cellar. This Syrah is aged for 16 months in neutral Oak and is absolutely delicious with just about anything.

Cuvée Domaine – Domaine Guion (2013)

Winemaker: Stephane Guion

  • Soil: Clay/Limestone
  • Age of Vines: 25-45 yrs
  • Grape Variety(s): Cabernet Franc
  • Style: Dry Red
  • Region: Bourgueil, Loire Valley

Stephane Guion again shares with us one of his masterful vintages from the heart of the Loire Valley in France. Earlier this summer, we featured his Cuvée Prestige…now we’ll learn (and taste!) about the Cuvée Domaine. One of the pioneers of organic viticulture in his region, Guion and his family have been organically farming just under 20 acres in Bourgueil since 1965 (wow!). Stephane’s craft is dedicated entirely to one grape: Cabernet Franc. Quiet and meticulous, he typically produces only two wines a year that make it to the US (Domaine and Prestige). Grapes for “Domaine” are crushed, largely destemmed (note the wonderful tannin in this wine) and fermented with native yeasts naturally present on the fruit. After fermentation, the grapes are pressed and transferred to steel tanks, where they will age for about a year. Wines are then bottled with a small amount of sulfur added just at the bottling stage.

We’ve held on to the 2013 Domaine since Spring and it is showing wonderfully at the moment. Almost straddling the line of Green Bell Pepper and Rose, “Domaine” pairs beautifully with raw vegetables like Brussels Sprouts and also is a nice compliment with pizzas.