After graduating from Cal Poly SLO, winemaker Denise Shurtleff worked at a local winery as a lab tech during harvest, and was quickly introduced to the intensity and passion associated with fine winemaking. She worked all aspects at the winery, learning how each and every part of the winemaking process affects the final wine. The sustainably-farmed Tempusquet Vineyard in Santa Maria produces grapes of intense quality, and Denise knows just the methods needed to get the vineyard's best into the bottle.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Syrah Tepusquet Vineyard is the most impressive wine in the range today. Powerful, dense and explosive, the 2015 pulses with both energy. An exotic melange of inky dark fruit, creme de cassis, lavender, black pepper and spice builds as this striking wine shows off its pedigree."
The 2017 Santa Barbara County Syrah combines fruit from the four Syrah vineyards Jaffurs works with. After blending trials, a small amount of Grenache was added in for aromatics and complexity. More than a sum of its parts this wine exhibits cherry, wild berry and violet aromatics. Full and fruitful in the mouth, with underlying espresso and pepper flavors. Sharing the same farming and winemaking techniques as their vineyard designated wines, this Jaffurs Syrah can be enjoyed upon release or cellared for several years.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is another gorgeous appellation-level wine from Jaffurs. Inky red/purplish berry fruit, black pepper, mint, lavender and licorice add aromatic nuance, but more than anything else, the 2017 is incredibly layered and detailed within its peer group. A dollop (8%) Grenache works well in rounding out the wine's balance."
JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "The 2016 La Sangre de Jonata (98% Syrah and 2% Viognier) is a beautiful follow on to the sensational 2015 and has a layered, multi-dimensional, massive profile. Blackcurrants, blackberries, lavender, bacon fat, and spring flower notes all flow to a seriously rich, powerful wine that stays light and graceful, with awesome tannin quality. It's another tour de force that reminds me of the 2007. It shuts down with extended air time (I followed this bottle for two days) and while it can certainly be enjoyed today, it won't hit prime time for another 4-6 years and should keep for two decades or more."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96+ POINTS - "The 2016 La Sangre de Jonata is a wine of real substance and depth. In 2016, the La Sangre is distinguished by its red fruit profile, freshness and vibrant, focused personality, all of which should allow it to age gracefully for a number of years. The 2016 is not as overt as some previous versions have been, but that is probably a very good thing for its longer term prospects. Time in the glass brings out the wine's underlying richness and pedigree."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94-97 POINTS - "The 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyards is another glorious wine in this range. Rich and inky in the glass, the 2017 offers a compelling interplay of rich fruit allied to a vertical sense of structure. Dark red fruit, spice and floral notes are pushed forward, but it is the wine's total sense of poise that is most impressive today. Unctuous and full-throttle to the core, with head-spinning intensity and exceptional balance, the 2017 Syrah is shaping up to be an absolute jewel of a wine."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94-96+ POINTS - "John Kongsgaard had finished harvest prior to the fires in 2017. While the Atlas Peak fire came dangerously close, the winery was spared and the vineyards received just minimal damage."
"A barrel sample, the deep purple-black colored 2017 Syrah Hudson Vineyard offers black cherries, raspberries, crushed blackberries and tar with hints of anise and a waft of wild thyme. Medium to full-bodied and packed with perfumed fruit, it has lovely rounded tannins and great freshness, finishing long."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "(raised in a combination of new and used French oak barrels, concrete tanks and amphoras) Deep brilliant ruby. An assertively perfumed bouquet evokes fresh black and blue fruits, Moroccan spices, vanilla and smoky minerals, while a suave floral pastille accent builds in the glass. Deeply concentrated yet surprisingly lively on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry, boysenberry, spicecake and mocha flavors that unfold slowly, picking up licorice and vanilla notes on the back half. Shows outstanding clarity and thrust on a supple, strikingly long finish shaped by smooth, building tannins."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93-95 POINTS - "One of the reference point estates in Paso Robles is unquestionably Stephan Asseo's l'Aventure."
"Leading off the reds from barrel, the full-bodied 2015 Cote a Cote (60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah) has an elegant, cool climate feel (which can be common in the vintage) as well as pretty, elegant notes of violets, raspberries, peppery herbs and black cherries. The final blend will be a mix of roughly 60% barrels and 40% in concrete and amphora, and it should have a decade of longevity."
A blend of 71% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 14% Syrah, this showcases great aromatics typical of it's Grenache vineyard in the Adelaida District AVA in West Side Paso Robles. On the nose is spicy red fruits, fresh cherries and hints of chocolate. On the palate its combines a new world juiciness and some old world Chateauneuf-du-Pape like floral notes and firm tannins. The Syrah component from a hillside vineyard in the Willow Creek AVA complements, but still allows the Grenache to be in the driver seat of this blend. We think you'll enjoy its freshness and structure now as well as benefit from several years of cellaring to experience its progression.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "(15% whole clusters; 40% new French oak) Saturated ruby. Heady, mineral-accented red berry liqueur and floral scents show excellent clarity and a smoky topnote. Sweet and sharply focused on the palate, offering ripe raspberry and cola flavors and a spicy hint of white pepper. Shows excellent finishing cut and floral persistence, with rounded tannins coming in late."
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "Saturated ruby. Powerful red and dark berry preserve scents are complemented by suggestions of exotic spices, incense and floral pastilles, and a smoky mineral flourish adds urgency. Sappy and seamless in texture, offering vivacious raspberry and cherry liqueur and spicecake flavors energized by a strong jolt of juicy acidity. The blend of power and energy here is really impressive. Smooth, harmonious tannins build steadily on a strikingly long, seamless finish that leaves behind candied lavender and juicy red berry notes."
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS - "I’ve written it numerous time, but Linne Calodo remains one of the reference point estates in Paso Robles. Winemaker/owner Matt Trevisan consistently puts together exotic and singular blends that deliver opulence as well as balance."
"The 2016 Rising Tides knocks it out of the park in 2016. A blend of 77% Grenache, 14% Mourvedre, and 9% Syrah, this ruby-tinged beauty boasts thrilling notes of black raspberries, crushed flowers, dried herbs, and incense. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and elegant, it's a sensational Grenache blend that does everything right. Brought up in a mix of concrete tanks and neutral larger French oak barrels, it's one of the finest vintages for this cuvee to date. Drink it any time over the coming 7-8 years."
A blend of 70% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre, 8% Grenache, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Sirah, 3% Zinfandel, and 2% Clairette Blanche, Beautiful Earth is Mcprice Myers' flagship Paso Robles Blend, and it represents the best lots from their favorite westside vineyards. Ripe berries, violets, rose petals, sweet tobacco, peach-blackberry cobbler, dried sage, dark chocolate, and leather are all present on the nose. The palate is juicy and voluptuous with hints of cocoa powder, it is opulent and lush with a vibrant beam of energy ushering in a tantalizing finish.
Our buyer was visiting/touring/tasting around the Paso Robles region when McPrice Myers was rebranding a few of his wines. Two of the wines were just about to be bottled, and Mac invited our buyer to the winery and taste them, and of course our buyer went (if you've ever had Mac's wines, you know why this was a no brainer). Vis-a-vis their pricepoints, our buyer felt that Mac's "Blue Collar Series" (of which he makes a Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Grenache-blend) far exceeded anything else he tasted on that trip!
A blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 6% Petite Sirah and 2% Viognier, aromas of smoky plum, mocha, licorice, and black cherries move towards Rainier cherry, boysenberry, dark chocolate, and brown spice on the palate, betore the lush tannins lead you towards a long, supple finish.
Representing a portion of every Syrah block on the vineyard, Estate Syrah best represents Stolpman Vineyard’s soil, methodology, and the Ballard Canyon weather conditions in any given year.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2017 Syrah Estate Grown is absolutely gorgeous. Fresh, floral and wonderfully perfumed, the Estate expresses all the best vintage had to offer. Sweet floral, spice and dried herbs are beautifully laced into a core of dark Syrah. Not only is the Estate a terrific example of the year, it also captures the interplay of rich fruit and more savory notes that is so typical of the best Ballard Canyon Syrahs. The 2017 is simply compelling. That's all there is to it. "
Every so often, you'll peruse our newsletter and see that we ask why more people are doing things like Winery "A". Well…this is one of those times! While the noteworthy wines from Tablas Creek are nothing new (but they are still exciting), their Patelin bottlings are new. This blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise comes from their Westside Paso neighbors who have planted vineyards using Tablas clones.
In theory, this Patelin red should be tight, young, and tart…but on the contrary, this wine is rich, concentrated and immensely delicious. In fact, our buyer wouldn't spit this wine out! Deep ruby/garnet in color, the nose is loaded with Asian spices, raspberry, black cherry, and orange marmalade while the palate follows suit and adds hints of grilled meats, graphite, and cocoa. Rich, flavorful, and with silky tannins, this is a great value in wine, and one that just may make you ask yourself why you haven't tried these wines before!
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90-92 POINTS - "Glass-staining ruby. Perfumed aromas of ripe, spice-tinged dark berries and candied flowers pick up an exotic suggestion of apricot as the wine opens up. Silky and energetic in style, offering sappy black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors and a suave touch of Asian spices. Takes a sweet turn on the gently tannic, persistent finish and leaves a note of candied flowers behind."
Tablas Creek was founded by the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and their importer, Robert Haas. The goal was to produce California's best examples of southern Rhône varietals and Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blends. The partners chose a 120-acre property in the hills of westside Paso Robles for its similarities to Chateauneuf-du-Pape: limestone soils, favorable climate, and rugged terrain. Tablas Creek emphasizes dry farming (no watering) to seek maximum expression from their grapes, and they farm organically. Their signature white is named Esprit de Tablas, and is modeled after the Beaucastel wines from the Rhone Valley.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93-94 POINTS - "Light green-tinged gold. Mineral-accented tangerine, melon and pear scents on the highly perfumed nose; a floral nuance gains strength as the wine opens up. Vibrant citrus and orchard fruit flavors are joined by bitter quinine and honeysuckle flourishes that build slowly with air. Shows impressive depth as well as nerviness on the finish, which hangs on with strong, mineral-dominated persistence."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Esprit Blanc de Tablas is made up of 68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Picardan and 4% Clairette Blanche. The nose features honey-drizzled apples, lychee, orange peel and musk with warm hay, crushed stone, quince and pie crust notions. Medium to full-bodied with intense honeyed flavors in the mouth, it has great juicy acidity to counter and a long, gently textured finish. "This is the first vintage of the Esprit de Tablas Blanc to have Clairette and Picardin," winemaker Jason Haas says, "because we wanted to include all the white grapes from Châteauneuf-du-Pape." 2,250 cases produced."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Esprit De Tablas Blanc offers more richness and depth, which is largely missing from many of these wines. White peach, quince, honeysuckle, and hints of stone fruits all emerge from the glass, and it's nicely textured, medium-bodied, has good acidity, and a clean finish. The blend is 68% Roussanne, 17% Grenache Blanc, 7% Picpoul Blanc, 4% Picardan, and 4% Clairette."
JEB DUNNUCK 98+ POINTS - "The 2016 vintage for Paso Robles was a beauty and Torrin’s Scott Hawley has certainly made the most of it. The 2016s are some of the finest wines in the vintage and you can’t go wrong with any of them."
"The first vintage released under the Central Coast AVA, as it includes fruit from Bien Nacido, Hawks Hill, and Shadow Canyon, the 2016 Syrah Akasha is as always 100% Syrah that spent 22 months in 60% new French oak. This saturated purple-hued beauty boasts a phenomenal bouquet of black and blue fruits, scorched earth, ground pepper, bouquet garni, lavender, and crushed rocks. Rich, full-bodied, incredibly powerful and concentrated on the palate, yet also perfectly balanced, it has plenty of gamey, marine-like nuances as well as classic Syrah peppery meatiness. It's another magical Syrah from Hawley that will probably merit a triple-digit score in 3-4 years and keep for over a decade."