I first worked with this variety in Sonoma County 19 years ago, selecting budwood from an established Central Coast vineyard planted by Gary Eberle. After becoming fully self-employed in 1998, I sought to work with this fine variety from cooler sites under our own label. These first Scherrer Syrahs were from my long-time friend and unofficial right-hand-Jiminy Cricket, Don Bliss’ vineyard. There was not enough fruit to ferment in our larger 3-Ton tanks so we used small portable tanks that I have for just such purposes. We had a habit of taking turns naming the tanks rather than numbering them. The one Don named ‘Sasha’ (he still has given me no explanation for the name) always seemed to produce really pretty, feminine wines. Later, we found ourselves saving him/her for the promising, pretty lots. We implicitly agreed that ‘Sasha’ should be a nice name for a wine someday.
Just before Lymnar Winery purchased Don’s vineyard, I began relationships with the Timbervine and Calypso vineyards in Russian River Valley to further strengthen my seemingly-intelligent-at-the-time stand in the Syrah world. In 2007, I found that I could create better wines by blending parts of each of these vineyards together as opposed to making single vineyard-designate wines. The slightly more powerful, masculine blend became our Russian River Valley bottling released in November. The prettier, more feminine one whispered: ‘Sasha.’ Think of their personalities as akin to Cote Blonde vs Cote Brune in Cote Rotie. Interestingly, ‘Sasha’ is both a man’s and a woman’s name, reflective of the range of personality of this fine grape variety. The nose is somewhat meaty and vaguely smoky/spicy, but then in your mouth grows to blueberry, white pepper and floral on the delicate but surprisingly substantial finish So pretty and restrained, I wonder if we will be accused of blending Pinot Noir into this 100% varietal wine?