I struggled with the title of this one a bit. The fact of the matter is that this syrah, from winemaking couple Kevin and Jennifer Kelley of the NPA, is something I liked quite a bit, but I could see how many would not.
Ain’t that the fun part about wine?
Salinia is the Kelley’s micro-winery with a bit more of a traditional place in the wine world than the Natural Process Alliance. For one, Salinia wine comes in glass bottles. The purpose and driving force behind Salinia seems to be pretty different. While NPA wines are all about process (and the extraction of the winemaker from it in many ways), Salinia wines are all about terroir. The specific vineyard sites, and the general location in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley near the town of Occidental, CA, are chosen for what they bring specifically to the wines.
The thing is, that can’t be all there is to it. Terroir is important, obviously, but other wineries source grapes from Heintz Ranch, and I can’t believe they taste quite like this.
In the glass, the ‘07 Syrah offering from Salinia is ruby at its core, but lightens to almost-clear, muted pink at the edges. The nose on this wine is stinky (in that way I oh-so-love) with pickle brine, manzanilla olive, and pimento pepper.
On the palate is more of the same. There is good tannin structure here, and as the wine has just been released, it’s entirely possible that with a few years' time, it will taste nothing like this, but for now: olives. Manzanilla, kalamata, and olive brine. This is like the wine world’s version of a dirty martini.
It’s different, it’s interesting. It’s stinky in a fun, drinkable way. It really tastes very natural, very un-screwed-around-with, which is a complement in and of itself.