2017 Syrah

2017 Syrah
2017 Syrah

After a couple of tough winters, 2016 was a welcome relief for area vineyards. Though we had a few abnormally cold nights, only minimal winter damage was incurred. The spring was relatively dry and uneventful thus allowing bud break to proceed with little threat of frost damage. As summer took hold so did drought conditions, from April to September the region saw only a fraction of its normal rainfall. The dry weather and record breaking heat accelerated ripening which set the stage for a compact and hectic harvest schedule. In the end, the yields were solid, the fruit was clean and concentrated and the harvest crew exhausted.


The 2016 Syrah is a Finger Lakes cool climate twist on a Californian classic, kind of like a Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga collaboration. And of course "It Don't Mean a Thing" if we don't give this bold wine its own orchestra. Ripe, luscious black cherry and currant are framed by whispers of earth and spice. We're singing its praises while pairing it with a flank steak marinated in a cherry balsamic reduction.

Production notes

Hand picked on October 23rd at 20.2 Brix and chaptalized to 23 Brix. The grapes were crushed and fermented with 15% whole-clusters in open-top bins with Syrah yeast with daily punch downs. Pressed off the skins on November 2nd, the wine was aged in neutral Hungarian (70%), American (20%) and French (10%) oak for 9 months and completed malolactic fermentation. Racked and blended on August 15th, the wine was rough filtered and bottled on August 24th, 2018.  

Download Wine Notes
Varietal Composition98% Syrah
2% Cabernet Sauvignon
AppellationFinger Lakes
VineyardSawmill Creek Vineyards
Harvest Date10/06/2016
Acid6.9 g/l
Residual Sugar0.1%
Volume750 ml
Bottling Date09/12/2017
Cases Produced269

Sawmill Creek Vineyards in Hector, NY is located along the southeast corner of Seneca Lake. Its steep-sided, southwest facing vineyards are widely recognized as among the best in the Finger Lakes. We thank the Hazlitt family for their dedication to sustainable farming and passion for wine growing.

'The Governor's Block' - Clone 877 - Lansing soil, gravel silt loam, 15%-25% slope.  Planted in 2003.

Vinny Aliperti started his wine journey making wine as a teenager with his relatives, never considering it would one day become his profession. After graduating college with a liberal arts degree and a stint in the Peace Corps, an opportunity to pursue commercial winemaking on his native Long Island was presented and he never looked back. From 1997 through 1999, Vinny apprenticed under winemaker Roman Roth at Wolffer Estate, producing mostly Chardonnay and Merlot at its state-of -the -art facility.

In early 2000, Vinny moved his family to the Finger Lakes to work at the legendary Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, where he was first exposed to Riesling production. In 2001, Vinny joined the startup Atwater Estate Vineyards, where he continues today heading up winemaking operations for over 15 varieties. Its 8000 case facility produces estate grown wines, including multiple Rieslings, Gewurztraminer, Blaufränkisch and Cabernet Franc.

With Atwater's blessing, Vinny and his wife started their own label, Billsboro Winery, in Geneva, NY in 2007. Sourcing grapes from Sawmill Creek Vineyards on Seneca Lake, Billsboro specializes in producing small lots dry vinifera wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, Syrah, and Pinot Noir.

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