Named after a fermentation tank nearly 20 years ago that always made ‘pretty’ wines, I became compelled to use the name ‘Sasha’ for Syrah blends that exhibit more of the red fruit part of the spectrum with juicy acidity vs. the more profound dark and earthy, broody end of the spectrum. Santa Rosa plums (especially the skin), red and black cherries plus my favorite ‘non-fruit’ freshly tilled loam greet the nose on a freshly opened bottle on day 1. On Day 2: The aromas settled into a harmony of anise, blossoms, a trace of vanilla [despite no new or even second use oak being employed here].
While many producers are successful employing a fair bit of new oak with the Rhône varieties, I have found that it is both unnecessary and unwanted for the material I have worked with. I also prefer the larger format barrels of 92 and 132 gallon vs. the typical 60 gallon barrel. I’ve had the benefit of over 30 years’ experience with larger and smaller format cooperage and by now have a pretty clear idea of how to match barrel size, age, and parcel. The wine wins when the rate of oxygen penetration is in sync with the needs of the material inside. As much at home with steak as with duck or portobello mushrooms, this is just plain satisfying and celebrates some of the prettier side of this wonderful variety.