If you’ve had time to read through a few of these entries, you may have noticed that Kickshaw values producers with long, multi-generational relationships to the vineyards they farm, and so it will come as no surprise to find out that Fred Scherrer is our kind of guy. In 1899 his great-grandfather, a Swiss immigrant, bought the land in Alexander Valley that Fred still farms today; his grandfather farmed it too, and planted some zinfandel vines among the fig and plum trees on the hillside. Those vines are over a hundred years old now (Fred bottled his first wine from them), and for seventy of those Fred’s father Ed tended them and Scherrer Vineyard fruit became some of the most highly-coveted in the valley. After a short stint at Greenwood Ridge in Mendocino, in 1988 Fred became an assistant winemaker for Tom Dehlinger at his eponymous winery and soon took over the winemaking, guiding it through its heyday in the nineties; he began bottling wine under the Scherrer name in 1991 and left Dehlinger after the 1997 harvest. If Fred were more of a shameless self-promoter, he and his wife Judi could probably sell what little wine they make to a select clientele for twice as much money, but that just isn’t their way; he’s been accused by friends of working very hard not to sell his wine. Change comes slowly to the Scherrer winery in Sebastopol, the rewards of which are waiting for you in these bottles.
2008 Scherrer “Calypso Vineyard” Syrah, Russian River Valley, CA
100% syrah from Otis Holt’s Calypso parcel in the cool and foggy Green Valley area within the Russian River Valley; the vineyard is planted to multiple clones of syrah that will struggle to ripen in cooler vintages, making it ideal for a winemaker like Fred Scherrer. Fred is never in a hurry, nor are his wines: this 2008 is the current release of Calypso, and none of the Scherrer wines hit the market until Fred deems them ready, a very difficult thing for a cash-strapped Californian winemaker to do. The finished wine unfolds at a leisurely pace, unmistakably Californian in the best possible way; despite its extended time in barrel, the oak character holds no dominion. Homegrown syrah the way it should be.