Griffin’s Lair Vineyard

Sonoma Coast

I was still in graduate school when I tasted the first Syrah from Griffin’s Lair. It was back in 2005, and the wine was made by the inimitable Pax Mahle. I distinctly remember mentioning to my friend, as we tasted it, that “this is a Syrah that I would love to make.” At the time though I was still buried in graduate school, my legs were burning from climbing the stairs of the Ivory Tower and the thought of Bedrock Wine Co. was a mere zygote in my imagination.

It is funny how those seemingly irrational musings on a cold, winter, night, years ago manifested into something. Joan and Jim Griffin were among the very first that I asked, ney begged, for fruit when I started Bedrock in 2007. Alas, at that point, all the fruit was being taken. However, for two years I sent entreating emails, the thought of the great Griffin’s Lair Syrah’s tasted in my life still besmirching my better senses, asking for fruit.

Then, in the early part of 2009 I received an email from Joan Griffin saying that she might have some Syrah for me. Oh glory hallelujah! This year I got to enter the hallowed ground.

In 2009 Bedrock will receive Noir, 470, and 877 Syrah from the vineyard. Though the pressure is high at a place like Hudson to stand up to the incredible winemakers receiving fruit, in a way the stakes seem even higher at Griffin’s Lair. Though both vineyards have made archetypal Syrah’s in the realm of my tasting experience, the Griffin’s hand-farm every vine. It is a tiny vineyard, and that the vines are so snug with those going to winemakers who garner my every respect, makes it incredibly special. Like the tiny plots of Chaillots or Reynards in Cornas, incredible diversity of winemaking style and excellence in execution can exist across a truly unique and amazing terroir.

I only hope that I can make a wine that might inspire the winemaking impulse in someone else on a cold winter night as Manhattan traffic roars by.