One thing that I have learned about Syrah at Kingston Vineyard is that it does not like to be treated roughly. Although Syrah has the reputation as a sturdy grape that likes to be roughed up a bit, my experience suggests otherwise. My best results have been when I treat it gently—in fact, when I treat it like Pinot Noir. So each of the last two years we have been treating the Syrah more gently— fewer punchdowns and pumpovers, not quite so many stems in the fermentor, less new oak and a bit longer in barrel.
We are trying to come up with a wine that is more about complexity and flavor than sheer power. I think we've made some strides in that direction with the 2008 Lucero, which although it likes some aeration upon first opening, is chock full of blackberry fruit and spice and is surprisingly fleshy and soft on the palate. It is still not for the timid, and it pairs well with hearty food and company.