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While Deep Sky doesn’t have a tasting room yet (they’re planning on putting one in Sonoita/Elgin, from what I’ve heard), they are selling their wines at festivals (I picked up this bottle at the Great Arizona Wine Festival in Chandler last year, in fact), and online. Growing in Willcox (and with a vineyard in Argentina–sometime I need to get a bottle each of their Arizonan and Argentinian Malbecs to drink side-by-side to compare), Deep Sky’s astronomy theme evokes the dark night skies of the Willcox Bench; the 2013 Constellation Syrah fits this theme perfectly.


2013 Constellation Syrah in the high desert near Phoenix

The Wine: The Constellation Syrah is 100% varietal Syrah, from the Deep Sky/Asmundson Family vineyard on the Willcox Bench.  On site, Deep Sky grows two different Syrah clones: 471 and 525. It was made with the same Syrah grapes that went into their Gravity blend (Syrah/Petite Sirah, also good). This wine was made by Rob Hammelman at the Aridus facility.  As I mentioned before in my discussion of the Nebula, Deep Sky strives to produce the best fruit possible, which, according to Kim Asmundson, is the reason why this Syrah is so much darker than many other expressions of this grape in Arizona.  This wine was aged on neutral French oak.

The Nose: The nose on this Syrah is pretty deep and intense.  It is more reminiscent of an Australian Shiraz than most Arizona expressions of this grape.  Jammy blackberry, cherry, and plum intermingle with boysenberry and basil.  Latakia and slight anise notes also round out the nose, along with an earthy dust note that I’ve been noticing more and more on a lot of Willcox Bench reds lately.  As the wine opens, notes of clove, allspice, and cinnamon emerge from the glass.

The Palate: This wine is again, pretty dark on the palate, with lots of black cherry, nutmeg, and clove, along with the classic latakia of Arizona Syrah.  It’s got a super-bright acidity as well, and has some tannins to it also.  The finish has notes of jammy cherry, nutmeg, clove, and white pepper, and lasts for  2 minutes and 15 seconds.

The Pairing:  I’d pair this wine with brisket, or smoked quail off hand.  For a vegetarian pairing, serve the 2013 Constellation with smoked, grilled eggplant with thyme and rosemary, red sauce, and pepperjack cheese.

Impressions: This is a very satisfying syrah; great for a cold winter’s night by the fire, watching the snow fall outside or listening to the rain.  It’s a robust, more tannic syrah than some other examples we’ve explored, so it should age pretty well–I’m pretty certain this wine hasn’t awakened to it’s full potential yet.

Were this wine personified, it would be, like many Syrahs in Arizona, a pinup model, but with a twist: she lies dozing in a futon in an observatory, her brown curls all mussed about due to lack of sleep, with a clove cigarette burning out in an ashtray next to her next to her notes which are as illegible as Sumerian cuneiform.  On her lap as she dozes, she has a battered copy of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.  She wears an old T-shirt that has “don’t panic” in large, friendly letters and worn sweatpants.  A tattoo of the constellation of Orion can be seen on the back of her neck.