2012 Androkteinos Hudson Vineyards
This wine is composed of 100% Syrah from the Widowmaker block of Lee Hudson’s Henry Road vineyards in the Carneros of Napa. The vines were planted in the early 2000s in the deep, rich, loamy bottomland of the Huichica creek. We began working with this vineyard in 2007; for us, from the beginning one of the keys was making the wine 100% whole cluster, with no destemming.
Before the drought, we used to harvest this vineyard very late; sometimes after Hallowe’en and the Hudson harvest party. The drought has changed everything: beginning in this year, we found that the fruit reached an optimal ripeness, much earlier—in the middle or end of September. We even found ourselves harvesting earlier than other wineries in nearby sites. The wine has only gained in intensity and grace, with slightly higher acids.
We bring the fruit in, introduce it gradually into 600 liter puncheons turned vertical, with their heads removed. We stomp the fruit thoroughly as it goes in, intending to break every berry and release some of them from the stems. Then we refrigerate the puncheons for a week or so and macerate the fruit to release a wide spectrum and depth of flavor. Once the fermentation begins, we encourage it by heating and bring the whole system up to about 95 degrees and keep it as warm as possible for 3 weeks or a month. During this time, we are climbing into the puncheons and performing pigeage—foot treading—no less than 4 times per day. The fruit is rich and strong and we want it to give everything up. The result is a very intense wine, surprisingly tannic for Syrah.
It matured for 18 months in barrel; in all neutral, barrels.
The wine usually ages without SO2 and is bottled with 0 free and about 40 mg/L total.
A note on the name: Lee calls the source of this fruit “The Widowmaker Block” because of a dangerous dead old tree in a corner of the vineyard. He asked me to use this name for the wine, but I said that it was too close to John Wayne and not close enough to Homer. We came up with an excellent name from Homer: ANDROKTEINOS—the epithet of Hector. It means “Slayer of Men.” The wine is so powerful and intense that this seemed like a very good name indeed for the wine from Widowmaker.
Total production about 120 cases