Bedrock’s Standout Syrah

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 5:13 PM

I had a lovely chat this week with a customer who had just relocated to SF from overseas. Among the many wine-related topics we discussed was the price of entry for interesting, high quality, non-mass produced California wine. I threw out the number $25, saying you could find really exceptional wines starting at this price point, but added you have to do your research to find them. I then threw out a few names of producers that offer such wines, starting off my list was Bedrock.

To illustrate my point, I pointed to Bedrock’s 2015 North Coast Syrah. The North Coast Syrah is primarily made from three vineyards: Hudson, Alder Springs and Weill a Way. Hudson Ranch is located in Carneros, Alder Springs is in Mendocino, and Weill a Way is in the Sonoma Valley. The barrels of Syrah from these vineyards that did not end up in the vineyard-designated bottlings were blended together, along with some co-fermented Viognier, into the North Coast Syrah. Bear in mind, Bedrock makes three Syrahs from the Weill a Way Vineyard (highly allocated) that in 2013 received 100 points for two of them and the other 99 points from Robert Parker, Jr. Now I am not suggesting that the North Coast Syrah is any way like the Weill a Way Syrahs, but it is the same fruit. Boom!

Hudson Vineyard

For the North Coast Syrah, winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson likes to vinify using native yeasts and some whole-cluster pressed fruit. The wine is raised in 100% French oak, but none of it is new. In his liner notes for this wine, Morgan writes “I am always channeling my favorite producers of St. Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage. I want a wine that is perfumed, spicy, peppery and delicious, something long on flavor and low on pretense.” In a review by Antonio Galloni, he put it simply like this, “A huge, richly textured wine, the 2015 North Coast Syrah offers unreal quality for the money.”

Alder Springs

Our limited, or in the parlance of the day, curated domestic wine section always has several offerings from Bedrock. I will gladly accept any allocation from this winery, as I’ve followed and admired them from their inception. The quality is there, the price is fair and Bedrock’s emphasis on vineyard sites aligns with my own interest in providing TWH customers the best wine values. Check out our entire Bedrock inventory here.

The number of school days left before summer break begins are down to single digits. My little family, which includes my husband (a teacher) and my daughter (a middle-schooler) is counting down the days. I am so looking forward to sleeping in past 7:30! My natural sleep cycle does not jive with early wake-up times. But most of all, I am looking forward to welcoming spontaneity to rule the day and schedules to take a back seat. And in that space, I expect to be enjoying a glass or two of 2015 North Coast Syrah. No more pencils, no more books… – Anya Balistreri

2011 Bedrock Syrah From Hudson Vineyard

Monday, June 24, 2013 6:34 PM

Bedrock’s 2011 Hudson Vineyard South T’n’S-Blocks Syrah is a tour de force of sultry fruit, gamey flavors and crystalline vibrancy. If you love Syrah, especially when it has that hint of bacon fat and pepper, you’re going to want to load up on this one.  
In order to achieve this spectacular bottling of Syrah, in a vintage that was uncharacteristically cool for Northern California, winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson made a difficult and severe decision to declassify a sizeable portion of the fruit he gets from the legendary Hudson Vineyard in Carneros. This, on top of the fact that Lee Hudson had dropped half the fruit in the vineyard already due to climatic conditions. I am guessing that Morgan had plenty in his inner circle calling him crazy, but few young winemakers are so driven and honest about wanting the quality inside the bottle to live up to the expectation of its origins. This young winemaker loves his vineyards. Just check out his website – he lists and describes in beautiful detail the vineyards he works with. He doesn’t need to do that to sell wine; he could easily just post up all the accolades, boundless praise in wine articles and high scores that he receives for his wines to do that. 


Since Morgan doesn’t make wine in a big, fancy winery with a large tasting room to entertain pesky wine buyers like myself, I take my allocation of Bedrock wines gladly, and will usually buy a bottle to taste for myself (I do share with the guys sometimes!). I’ve been enamored with Bedrock wines ever since the first release of ’07 Heirloom Zinfandel, so I am not too concerned that I may not have tasted a Bedrock wine before placing bottles on our shelves. Then again, it is nice to know what the wine tastes like too. I was deeply saddened that I missed tasting through the new spring releases of Bedrock Wines at a fairly recent trade tasting; I look forward to any chance I can get to taste Bedrock wines. The wine gods must have felt bad for me because, two days later Morgan and his business partner, Chris, came to pay TWH a visit with several wines in tow. Now, not only did I get to taste the wines, I had Morgan all to myself! He had lots of stories to tell and knows how to convey all the technical data so that a non-winemaker, like myself, gets it. His enthusiasm for wine is infectious. After pouring his wines for us, he grabbed his buddy Chris and paraded him through our store, pointing out his favorites and even buying a bottle or two. I get the sense that for Morgan, leaving a wine store empty handed is practically impossible (and we do have great wines!). 


I truly favor the 2011s from Bedrock. I find them to be especially aromatic and vibrant. Naturally I enjoyed them all but there is always a stand-out and for me the 2011 Hudson Vineyard South T’n’S-Blocks Syrah was it. Morgan explained that he used mostly the S-Block for this cuvee which was planted to the Alban clone. He added a bit of the T-Block, planted in 1993 to the Estrella clone, which produces dark and meaty Syrahs as opposed to the S-Block which offers more perfumey aromatics. Morgan intimated that the wines he has made with the T-Block are always super meaty.  I found this perplexing. I said to him “but this wine is super meaty”. At this, both Morgan and Chris laughed, “yeah of course it’s meaty – it’s Hudson Syrah”. Morgan wrote this about his 2011 Hudson Vineyard South T’n’S-Blocks Syrah, “S-block, is the rockstar Syrah of the vintage- carrying the usual Hudson hallmarks of bacon, black olive tapenade, and smoke. The limited amount of T-block in the blend comes from the more meager T-West block and adds serious game to the equation. Like all the 2011 wines, this is not as powerful as its 2010 and 2009 predecessors, but it might be better served for it.” I couldn’t agree more. Power is not always what it’s cracked up to be. In this instance, I think the end result is a wine that can be enjoyed now and will continue to evolve beautifully over the years. 


Summer is officially here and with it came an early harvest of apricots from my beloved tree that my grandfather planted over four decades ago. I spent most mornings this week picking off all the fruit, determined to shut out the birds and deny any chance for the squirrels to beat me to those tangy sweet apricots. Like with apricots, I enjoy my fermented grapes, aka wine, to have ripeness but also have that tang. By the numbers, the 2011 Hudson Vineyard South T’n’S-Blocks Syrah was high in natural acidity – you can taste how it lifts all that ripe fruit, meatiness and smoke up, up, up. Very impressive. Anya Balistreri


2011 Bedrock Wine Company Syrah Hudson Vineyard South T ‘n’ S Blocks

Red Wine; Syrah/Shiraz; Other California;
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“The 2011 Syrah Hudson T’N’s Hudson is wonderfully alive in the glass. Varietal notes of dark red fruits, smoke, tobacco, licorice, black pepper and savory herbs sit on a frame of pure, unbridled energy. This broad-shouldered, intense wine has tons of promise. Morgan Peterson reported that the clusters were quite loose in this vintage. There is a lot to look forward to here. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2031. (92-94) points.” The Wine Advocate #206 Apr 2013

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