Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.





The Winery

Peay Vineyards is a first generation family winery.  Husband and wife, Nick Peay & Vanessa Wong, grow and make the wine and brother Andy Peay sells the wine and runs the business.  With minor exceptions, all wines are made from grapes grown on our 51-acre hilltop vineyard located above a river in the far northwestern corner of the West Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean at Sea Ranch.  We grow 34 acres of Pinot Noir, 8 acres of Syrah, 7 acres of Chardonnay, 1.8 acres of Viognier, 0.4 acres of Roussanne and 0.2 acres of Marsanne.


Winemaker Vanessa Wong left her position as winemaker at Peter Michael Winery in 2001 to launch Peay Vineyards.  She formerly she worked at Château Lafite-Rothschild, Domaine Jean Gros and Hirsch Winery.


Nick, a UC Davis-trained and veteran Santa Cruz mountains winemaker, is the vineyard manager and works side-by-side with our full-time crew of 8 workers.


We farm organically and maintain our certifications for fish-friendly farming and integrated pest management.  The health of our vineyard dictates these approaches to farming and making wine.  We also run on bio-diesel at the vineyard and solar power at both the vineyard and winery.  The vineyard and winery are not a family heritage.  We bought an old apple orchard and sheep ranch in 1996, planted the first 30 acres in 1998, and have dedicated our lives to learning how to make superior wines from it.


We sell Pinot noir grapes to Williams Selyem and Failla Wineries for vineyard designate wines.



The Wine

This is the coldest Syrah vineyard in the U.S. and that is due in large part to the fog and wind blowing up the river valley from the Pacific Ocean. La Bruma (“the mist or fog”) pays tribute to the fog’s role in producing our unique microclimate.


To say 2010 was a harrowing year for growing Syrah on our vineyard is putting it a little lightly; we were going through verasion in the middle of September. That usually happens a full month earlier! The warm spell that hit California in mid-September helped accelerate ripening but by November we were simply out of time (and good weather) and picked what we had. What we had was one very good Syrah, not two. We did not make a 2010 Les Titans Syrah. Sigh. This is it for the next year. So, what is the 2010 La Bruma like?


The nose has the classic white pepper, hickory smoke, and floral perfume that have attracted people to our Syrah. The mouth adds iodine, lead and a venison quality to the floral profile that begs for it to be paired at the table. The acidity is mouth-watering and the tannins present but soft. The wine is lighter on the palate (clocks in under 13%) than our previous Syrah but is not lacking for seriousness.


Total production was 260 cases.



2010 Peay Vineyards Syrah La Bruma – $38.04

As a lover of cool climate Syrah, when I see a Syrah from “the coldest Syrah vineyard in the US” I have to jump in.


This wine has 12.8% alcohol by volume and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a fairly deep garnet color.  The very appealing nose has blackberries, smoked meat, black pepper, plums, tobacco, baking spices, dried herbs, minerals and dried wild flowers.  This wine is barely medium body with moderate tannins and very good acidity.  On the palate fruit, spice and smoked meat grab hold initially, slowly allowing plums and black pepper to creep into the picture.  The finish has outstanding length with nice fruit slowly giving way to smoked meat.  This is very young but opened up nicely after an hour in a decanter.  Drink now with some air or preferably leave it in the cellar for another year or two.  (94 pts)

2010 Peay Vineyards Syrah La Bruma

2010 Peay Vineyards Syrah La Bruma




Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.


If you like this post, consider joining Cliffs Wine Picks Wine Blog on Facebook and giving me a Like.





This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.




***** Shameless Self Promotion *****


Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.






Breaking news from Klout:





Remember to support your local wine store!




* * * * * * * * * * * * *


Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.