Saturday, October 31, 2015

2011 Ceja Vineyards Sonoma Coast Syrah

Armando Ceja enjoys wearing both the vineyard and winemaking hats at Ceja Vineyards an ultra premium Latino family owned winery founded by Amelia, Pedro, Armando and Martha Ceja. Having grown up working the land, Armando can tell you just by the smell which AVA he is standing in and it brings back many memories of working with his father, mother and grandmother (who by the way were excellent cooks). The introduction at an early age to the vineyards along with his UC Davis education enables Armando to produce the very best wines the vineyards offer. His philosophy is simple, “Making wine is more like making preserves than jam,” he says and favors bright fruit balanced wines. As well his creations are so food friendly and many are paired with recipes from President Amelia Ceja's kitchen along with the help of daughter Dalia.

One of my first wineries visited in Napa was a stop at Ceja Vineyards and to be greeted so warmly by Amelia and her family was a huge impression. We sipped and talked for what seemed like hours listening to the early stories, the venture to where they are today and her passion for wine. Not lost in the discussion was the importance of family and this winery operation is truly a family affair.

Tonight's wine is the 2011 Sonoma Coast Syrah. Harvested from the Adobe Vineyard and aged 24 months in new french oak, the nose exhibits notes of earth, smoke and pepper spice followed by a rush of lush blackberry jam. A slight hint of dried herbs compliments the wine nicely.

The mouth is full of ripe blackberry, black raspberry followed by a slight pepper spice and earthy leather finish. The tannins are so soft for such a medium bodied wine. A special syrah indeed. I paired this with spaghetti and meat sauce which was a complete AAA rating.

If you have the chance to visit I highly recommend a stop at the tasting room located at 22989 Burndale Road, Sonoma. Plan to spend some time sipping, listening and as always purchasing some of these premium wines.


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