JEB DUNNUCK 91-93 POINTS - "Consistently thrilling wines come from l'Aventure, which is run with incredible talent and passion by St. Emilion native Stephan Asseo. His 2016s are incredible efforts, and the 2017 more Rhone blends are certainly in the same ballpark. Due to the heat spikes at harvest, Bordeaux varieties were much more difficult and hit or miss."
"Starting with the wines from barrel, the 2017 Optimus (55% Syrah, 41% Grenache, and the rest Petit Verdot) will certainly be a charming, sexy, outstanding bottle of wine. It gives up lots of cassis and jammy dark fruits in a primary, full-bodied, layered style."
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.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "The 2014 Relentless, made up of 89% Syrah and 11% Petite Sirah, is deep garnet-purple with a pronounced nose of black plums, blackberries and black cherries with touches of fragrant earth, black pepper and Indian spices plus a waft of lavender. Very big, full-bodied, opulent and laden with vibrant black fruits and spicy layers, it has firm, rounded tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and peppery."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92-95 POINTS - "Shafer's 2014 Relentless is fabulous. The most expressive and varietally expressive of the three vintages of Relentless I tasted. In 2014, Relentless has 11% Petite Sirah, which, along with the personality of the year, kicks up the aromatics and flavors in a meaningful way. Lavender, mint, violets and crème de cassis notes are laced into the super-expressive finish. The 2014 is shaping up to be a real gem."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "Few people are as passionate about Ballard Canyon as Peter Stolpman is. As President of the Ballard Canyon Winegrowers' Alliance, Stolpman is focused on bringing producers together to promote the area. To be sure, Ballard Canyon is a very distinctive region, especially for Syrah, so it will be interesting to see how things develop here in the coming years. As for his own wines, Stolpman's A-list team of winemaker Sashi Moorman and vineyard guru Ruben Solorzano keeps ratcheting up the quality level at the estate. In addition to these wines, I also tasted a few selections from the estate's library, including the 2004 Roussanne L'Avion, Syrah Estate and Syrah Angeli. Although those wines have aged pretty nicely, they also show just how far Stolpman has come in the last few years, especially with regards to cooperage. Simply put, these wines have never been better.
"Explosive and perfumed to the core, the 2012 Syrah Originals captivates all the sense with exuberant perfume and super-intense fruit, all with plenty of underlying structure. Cloves, lavender, mint and an array of spices inform the fragrant, highly expressive finish. The 60% whole clusters are impeccably balanced. This is a gorgeous showing from Stolpman."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - 'In the same ballpark, the 2012 Angeli is 100% Syrah that comes from a single block of own rooted vines. It too is medium to full-bodied, rich and textured, with pretty violets, purple fruits, spring flowers and edgy minerality. Seeing 80% whole clusters and 18 months in puncheons, it has bright acidity and clean, nicely focused feel. It is another outstanding Syrah that will evolve for a decade."
This wine is a joint venture of wine gurus from two continents. The blend is a true collaboration of winemakers Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste Michelle, along with two juggernauts from France, Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie! They have combined their decades of experience to produce a wine that demonstrates why Washington State is one of the best growing regions in the world for Syrah!
Approximately 22% of the lots were fermented as whole clusters, with the remaining
lots fermented as de-stemmed grapes. The inclusion of stems during fermentation
contributes earthy, savory aromas and flavors that perfectly complement the pure fruit
character of the grapes. To further enhance these complexities, about 20% of the lots also
underwent extended maceration. After fermentation, a majority of the young wine was placed into neutral French oak barrels for aging, with the remainder aged in tight-grained new French and American oak barrels. The use of neutral and tighter-grained barrels helps to preserve the unique character of the wine itself. This year the wine is a blend of 90% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Bright, full ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of dark berries, dark chocolate and spices; less expressive and wild than the 2015 version was at the same stage. Concentrated, silky and fine-grained, displaying sexy spice and violet lift to the concentrated dark berry and licorice flavors. I find more sweetness and primary fruit character--and more generosity of texture--than in the 2015 version of this bottling. The long finish hints at chocolatey ripeness but also shows lovely violet lift and a fine dusting of tannins. This needs aeration or a year or two in the cellar to shed its reductive quality. (I should note that a second bottle was a bit less generous and sweet.) (14.5% alcohol)"