McDowell Valley Vineyard
Almost a century ago, the Buckman Family planted Syrah and Grenache in McDowell Valley. This showed considerable foresight, as the region is still appreciated for its affinity for Rhone varietals.
In 1970, Richard and Karen Keehn bought the remnants of the Buckman’s vines and established McDowell Valley Vineyard. Their son William began working in the vineyard at age 12. At first they sold their grapes to other wineries. In 1979, they built there own production facility and started making wine. AVA status for the McDowell Valley followed in 1983.
After graduating from college, William Crawford became CEO of the winery in 1988. In 1993, he sold the production facility and used the capital to replant parts of the vineyard. He still owns most of the vines.
Crawford has a thorough knowledge of his land and only uses sustainable farming practices. He is particularly gifted at matching rootstocks and clones to distinctive climate and terrain.
Crawford’s Potato Patch Syrah is particularly good. This is a single vineyard wine that comes from grapes grown at 2,200 feet. It is full bodied and has an inky color.
The McDowell 2001 Syrah expresses the Rhone like conditions of the valley very well. This is a well-rounded wine with subdued, but noticeable strength on the nose and palate. It is also an extremely good value.