- Producer: Donelan Family Wines
- Winemaker: David Milner (current)
- Region (AVA): Sonoma Coast (Russian River Valley)
- Blend: 100% Syrah
- Vintage production: 1,025 cases
- Winery location: Russian River Valley (Sonoma)
- Owners: The Donelan Family
- First vintage: n/a
- Drinking window: 2017-2033
About The Wine
The last vintage of Walker Vine Hill is the final step in its long journey with Donelan Family Wines.
This bittersweet ending finishes on an incredibly high note, leaving no cliffhangers. Over the many years working with this vineyard, they have learned a great deal about how to approach each individual section. Years of identifying variations within the site – even sections as small as 2 rows – came to an epic conclusion in the 2013 vintage, with the segmentation of 14 distinct lots. Like variations on a theme, these lots were separated based on vigour, vine-age, fruit intensity and ripeness, making it the most dynamic of any vintage produced of Walker Vine Hill.
The 2013 Walker Vine Hill is evidence of Donelan's growth in winemaking, from identifying the unique attributes of a vineyard to understanding optimum pick dates and how to treat each lot in the cellar. This translated to lots of wine ranging from fully destemmed to 100% whole-cluster, a range of new oak percentages per lot, and varying lengths of macerations. The 2013 pulls the best traits from each vintage of Walker Syrah’s history at Donelan Wines: 2008’s richness, 2009’s acidity, 2010’s purity, 2011’s spice and 2012’s structure.
The final blend is driven by an extremely seductive nose with chocolate covered blueberries, red currants, and clove unfolding on the nose. The palate is densely constructed with velvety tannins and a long, full finish. The wine was aged for 20 months in 25% new oak, before being bottled on 25th July, 2015.
Donelan Walker Vine Hill Vineyard Syrah 2013
"One of the larger scaled examples of this cuvee I’ve tried, the 2013 Syrah Walker Vine Hill saw only partial destemming and 20 months in 25% new French oak. Reminding me a great vintage of Hermitage Les Bessards from Delas, it boasts phenomenal notes of crème de cassis, graphite, roasted herbs, melted licorice and burning embers. Rich, voluptuous, seriously ripe and decadent, yet with density, tannin and structure, it needs 3-4 years of cellaring (it needs an hour decant or more if drinking today) and will have two decades of overall longevity. This is what great California Syrah tastes like!"
97+ points, Jeb Dunnuck (July 2017)