2016 Bywater Syrah
93 pts - Wine Advocate
Our Small Lot Collection wines are the result of years of experience tasting the mosaic of different and distinct individual blocks on our Bell Mountain Estate ranch. As we cull through and taste each lot, specific micro blocks speak to us. These limited offerings are handcrafted with our 100% estate-grown organic grapes that benefit from our sustainable farming approach.
We originally planted a tiny amount of Syrah (less than half of an acre) to add an extra dimension to our Estate Red. When we harvested our first vintage in 2014, we were amazed by the layers of complexity and varietal flavors that this block offered, so we decided to bottle it separately even though the production is miniscule. The name Bywater is a reference to Chris James’ and Ames Morison’s favorite neighborhood in New Orleans.
The 2016 Bywater offers upfront aromas of blueberry with supporting notes of white pepper and smoke. Rich and full-bodied on the palate with layers of dense tannins and bright acidity followed by more fruit and ends with a mineral finish.
The 2016 vintage began with a warm spring and some late rains that gave us an early budbreak and enough water to provide good early season vine growth despite being in the tail end of a severe drought. June and July were warmer than usual, but when we approached the key ripening months of August and September, the weather cooled significantly, allowing a slow approach to maturity. These conditions favor good fruit development without excessively high alcohol. Exactly the kind of wine we love to make.