2018 Peay CEP Estate Syrah, Sonoma Coast, CA
Peay Vineyards is a first generation family winery started in 1996. Husband and wife, Nick Peay & Vanessa Wong, grow and make the wine and brother, Andy Peay, sells the wine and runs the business. Vanessa Wong was formerly winemaker at Peter Michael Winery. They sell fruit to a handful of premier wineries, but a majority of their fruit goes into their own bottlings.
The Peay family farms organically and maintains their certifications for fish-friendly farming and integrated pest management. The health of the vineyard dictates these approaches to farming and making wine. They also run on bio-diesel at the vineyard and solar power at both the vineyard and winery.
Cep Syrah is made from barrels of Peay Estate Syrah that were not selected for the final blends of Les Titans or La Bruma. As a result, this is an amazing value since it is grown and made to be a Peay Syrah but these barrels didn’t make those wines taste better. Still very good, just not better. The 2020 Cep Syrah straight up reminds me of a Crozes Hermitage Syrah. Not trying to borrow from that region, but due to a warmer than normal vintage, the wine just has that blueberry mixed with black olive aroma sweetened by wafts of bacon fat that those who know Crozes associate with the region. The flavors on the palate are not quite as plush as the nose would suggest, showing our Peay terroir with less fruit and more muscle. As the wine carries to the back of the mouth, garrigue notes enter the overall taste profile and a squid ink quality also adds ballast to the fruit making this a more interesting and multi-dimensional wine. Again, Cep wines deliver incredible value for the price.