2013 was the first time we've made a Connell Syrah since 2010. It was an ideal year for cool climate Syrah to achieve ripeness, the exact opposite of a vintage like 2011 when it wasn't warm enough for Syrah to get beyond 17 brix. Connell Vineyard sits on a ridge above Bennett Valley, just a few doors down from the edge of the Sonoma Coast appellation. It is a cool, foggy and windy site, perfectly suited for the Pinot Noir that grows there every vintage, but it's a marginal climate for the later ripening Syrah. 2013 was the best year we've seen there in a long time.
As with every Connell Syrah that Sandler has produced, this was fermented with 100% whole clusters. This technique adds tannin and spice, some say white pepper, others say black pepper, and many people describe the flavor as a meatiness. The 2013 Connell Syrah has a lot in common with the beautiful 2009 we made from this vineyard. It should be at its best from 2017 through 2025.