Matching Food & Wine

Fiona Beckett, 2014


Given that I’ve been in Napa and Sonoma County for the past few days you might expect me to select a cab or a pinot noir as my wine of the week (more on those in due course) but I’m going for this fantastic syrah I tasted at the Rhone-fixated Girl and The Fig in Sonoma

The winemaker, Kieran Robinson, worked for Domaine Pierre Gaillard in the Northern Rhône (as well as Cakebread and Paul Hobbs) and this is a true tribute to his mentor – a beautifully balanced cool climate syrah with a lovely whiff of white pepper. He picks up ‘savoury undertones of smoked pork’ which I think is a great tasting note and certainly suggests the direction in which you should go food-wise.

Bennett Valley is a small AVA that falls within the North Coast and Sonoma Valley AVAs and part of Sonoma Coast as explained by this Wikipedia entry. You can locate it on the Sonoma Valley winery map here.

I was particularly impressed by how different this wine was to Robinson’s much fuller, riper 2009 Vivio Vineyard Syrah showing he has the skill to reflect the vintage. Both wines are made with native yeasts, unfined and unfiltered.

Robinson is currently assistant winemaker at Jericho Canyon making Cabernets with Aaron Pott and the ubiquitous (my description, not his) Michel Rolland – I’d be interested to see what he’s doing there. One to watch for the future, certainly.

At present the wine is only available from the winery (for $43 (£27) – a bargain for California) but well worth picking up if you’re in the region (or drinking at The Girl & The Fig). But hopefully someone might think of importing it.


November 1, 2014