SYRAH, GRENACHE, VIOGNIER, ETC
- Item #: i_211270Bottle Size: 750mlThis wine floored us from the very first sip! Ancient Peaks sits in the Paso Robles appellation, 22 miles south of the city itself, and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Here, the surrounding peaks of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range act as a gateway between one region to the south that is exceedingly ocean-cooled, and another to the north that is much, much warmer (sometimes downright hot!). When the days heat up in the areas north and east of Margarita Vineyard, the air rises to create a vacuum that pulls marine breezes and fog inland over the peaks, and right through the vineyard. This means the fruit gets ripe, without any "off" flavors, yet the cooling afternoon breezes help the resulting wine to retain freshness and acidity.
The Renegade is a blend of 32% Syrah, 25% Zinfandel, 20% Malbec, 19% Petit Verdot, and 4% Petite Sirah, the wine is loaded with deep berry aromas that reveal accents of toasty oak, baking spice, cedar and tobacco. The texture is broad and velvety, offering concentrated flavors of boysenberry, blueberry, black cherry and cocoa that are powerfully framed by savory notes of bacon fat and pepper. Plush tannins and lengthy fruit converge into a smooth, seamless finish.
- Item #: i_200570Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96-98+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96-98+ POINTS - "In May 2019, I paid a visit to Andremily owner, Jim Binns, at his small winemaking facility in Ventura, CA. A former employee at Sine Qua Non, not only did this guy learn from the best, he has taken the baton and run off into his own very clever direction with it."
"Composed of 92% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre and 3% Viognier, using 40% whole cluster, the Andremily 2017 No. 6 is sourced from White Hawk, Larner, Harrison-Clarke, Watch Hill and Alta Mesa Vineyards. To be bottled mid-August 2019, it will spend around 22 months in French oak barriques, 60% new."
"Deep garnet-purple, the nose is already singing at this nascent stage, giving up loads of bright blackberries, crushed red and black plums and mulberries scents with Indian spices, cardamom, Sichuan pepper and dusty soil plus a waft of wild thyme. Full-bodied and firm, with a refreshing line cutting through the densely packed black fruit layers, it has wonderfully ripe, rounded tannins and a long finish."
- Item #: i_244070Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 90JEB DUNNUCK 90 POINTS - "The entry-level Syrah, the 2017 Syrah Tous Les Jours was brought up all in neutral barrels. Coming entirely from sites in the Santa Ynez Valley, it offers a deep ruby/plum color as well as a juicy bouquet of smoked black fruits, olives, sappy herbs, pepper, and scorched earth. Medium-bodied, juicy, balanced, and about as quaffable as they come, it's a no-brainer effort to enjoy over the coming 4-5 years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "Medium to deep ruby-purple, the 2017 Syrah Tous les Jours opens with notes of tar and smoke, giving way to peppered meat, black olive and dense black and blue fruits with floral notions. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with dark fruits firmly framed by ripe tannins and lifted by juicy acidity, finishing long."
- Item #: i_203060Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Tasting Notes: "As usual our value offering of Syrah is primarily made up of declassified lots of our vineyard designated wines. In 2018 this means Hudson, Griffin's Lair, Alder Springs, Weill, Shake Ridge and others make the majority of the blends, combined with small amounts of Bedrock Vineyard Syrah, Walker Vine Hill and others. All lots saw some use of whole-cluster (ranging from 20-100%) and there is a small amount of Viognier also cofermented in a few of the lots. Elevage was done in a variety of barrel sizes, a small fraction of which were new. Perfumed, peppery and meaty, this wine should slay it for the price. Back up the truck! "
- Item #: i_205720Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 96 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 96-98 POINTS - "Lastly, the 2017 Vertigo checks in as 63% Syrah, 30% Mourvedre, 4% Grenache, and the balance Petite Sirah that's still aging in 65% new French oak. One of the more voluptuous, sexy 2017s from Jenson, it boasts loads of black and blue fruits, ground pepper, and spring flower aromas and flavors. Deep, full-bodied, ultra-pure, and with a big finish, it's killer wine in the making."
- Item #: i_212451Bottle Size: 750mlBrassfield's Volcano Ridge Vineyard is located on the steep slopes of an extinct cinder cone at 2,200 feet above sea level on the eastern end of High Valley. The pure volcanic soils are ideal for vine stress, restricting crop yields, and making wine that has both intensity and elegance.
A blend of 40% Petite Sirah, 21% Syrah, 12% Malbec, 11% Mourvedre, 11% Grenache, and 5% Zinfandel, this wine is packed with terroir driven fruit and structure. A spicy nose is balanced with intense flavors of plum, raspberry, blackberry, black currant, and anise. Dark raisins dusted with black pepper fill the core of this full-bodied and soft, lush wine. Amazing on its own or with grilled meats and soft cheeses.
- Item #: i_209820Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94After 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."
- Item #: i_207430Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 94JEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "Coming from a single vineyard in the cooler Bennett Valley (although the site is so unique they don't label this wine as from Bennett Valley), the 2017 The Integral checks in as 62% Syrah and 38% Mourvedre that had the Syrah mostly destemmed and the Mourvedre fermented with 100% whole clusters. Deep purple-hued with notes of smoke blue fruits, bloody minerality, charcoal, and graphite, it's medium to full-bodied, concentrated, backward, and structured. Hide bottles for 4-5 years and it's going to keep for over a decade."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "A light-footed bruiser, opening with boldly expressive blackberry jam aromas before revealing a structured core wrapped in compelling currant, licorice and smoky beef flavors. Syrah and Mourvedre. Best from 2021 through 2028. 422 cases made."
- Item #: i_207450Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94-97ANTONIO GALLONI 94-97 POINTS - "This set of 2020 releases from proprietor Mike Officer and winemaker Jay Maddox is stellar. There are so many alluring wines in this range, that I don't really know where to start. But, if I had to pick a few, they would be the Sonoma County Syrah (a fabulous value), the Carlisle Zinfandel and the Sierra Mar Syrah. Most of the wines see a cold soak of around 5 days. New oak is in the 20-30% range, and whole clusters are used with restraint. More than anything else, I was blown away by the sheer finesse of the 2018s, and the extraordinary degree to which they convey the essence of place, which is such a fundamental concept in world-class wine."
"As good as the Rosella's Syrah is, the 2018 Sierra Mar has an added kick of everything. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, leather, menthol and licorice all build in a deep, expansive Syrah loaded with character. The 20% whole clusters are evident, but not at all dominant. More than anything else, the Sierra Mar Syrah possesses tremendous vertical intensity as well as purity. What a wine!"
- Item #: i_207460Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90-93ANTONIO GALLONI 90-93 POINTS - "The 2018 Syrah (Sonoma County) is fabulous. If I were going to focus on only one wine in this range, it might very well be the Sonoma County Syrah, as it offers extraordinary value. Black cherry, plum, gravel, spice, chocolate and leather infuse the 2018 with remarkable intensity and power. The 2018 is built around a core of fruit from Radiant Ridge, in Bennett Valley, which will become a vineyard designate in this range at some point in the future. Quite frankly, the 2018 is a stunning wine."
- Item #: i_219610Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of 52% Syrah, 21% Grenache, 12% Petite Sirah, 8% Tannat, and 7% Mourvedre, the life of the party has just arrived and is setting up shop in your mouth. It's approachable, as all good party guests should be, with lively flavors of blackberries, cherries and strawberries to get things started. And this Paso red blend knows how to mingle, introducing milk chocolate, caramel and leather to all those beautiful fruits. It's going to be an interesting night.
- Item #: i_214420Bottle Size: 750mlNotes from Winemaker Darren Delmore: "Farmed biodynamically, the Bassi Vineyard is one mile away from the ocean in Avila Beach on the Central Coast. This is one of the greatest sites for cool climate Syrah. I chose to follow the protocols of natural winemaking with this specific wine. Hand-harvested October 3rd, I destemmed 2/3 of the fruit, leaving the rest as whole clusters on top. I added 5% Viognier for a Cote-Rotie inspired co-fermentation, which increased the dark color and florals in the finish. The wild fermentation tasted like guava nectar and blackberry syrup the whole way until dryness. I gravity drained the free run into two French Oak barrels and basket pressed into a third; all neutral. The wine was racked once after malolactic fermentation in the spring, and bottled unfiltered with low sulfites on July 31. Alcohol 13.4%. 72 cases made.
"Psychedelic purple black color, mid-weight and swirly. Creosote, licorice, cumin, vanilla and a Grenache-like strawberry note. Rich on the entry, bright on the mid-palate, with an ocean-driven finish. Comparable to Cornas, but lighter in alcohol. White peppered Bresaola on the back end, lifted with lip-smacking Viognier florals."
- Item #: i_214850Bottle Size: 750mlPlanted in 1999, Denner Vineyards is a winegrowing estate on the far western border of the Paso Robles AVA. Their 156 acres press up against the Santa Lucia Range, giving the site great diversity of elevation, aspect and soil. Previously dry farmed barley, the estate is nestled into the Templeton Gap, an East/West corridor where the marine layer can reach the inland valleys. As a result they receive large diurnal temperature swings without high moisture pressure, giving us a near perfect growing climate.
The 108 acres under vine are comprised of 19 different varieties in 26 unique blocks. Each block is farmed with painstaking attention to detail, allowing only for the best possible grapes to reach the winery. Aron Nevarez, their vineyard manager, is committed to environmentally friendly farming practices, using only sustainable inputs and minimal irrigation.
The "Dirt Worshipper" is a blend of 97% Syrah, 2% Roussanne, and 1% Viognier. An explosion of violets, black olives, plums, white pepper, and forest floor are a stunning introduction to this hedonistic beast. Flavors of seared ribeye, menthol, rolling tobacco, and blueberry dance around on the visceral palate. The mid-palate offers profound depth and power, but brightens as it evolves into a graceful and extraordinarily long finish.
- Item #: i_215890Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 99JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "The 2016 MJM is the same blend as the Seven, but predominantly from the John Sebastiano Vineyard and aged 27 months in 38% new oak. Notes of blackcurrants, camphor, beef blood, sandalwood, ground pepper, and spiced meat all emerge from the glass, and this incredible wine is medium to full-bodied, has building tannins, flawless balance, and a blockbuster of a finish. It reminds me of a Hermitage from the likes of Jean-Louis Chave. There are a scant 300 cases produced."
- Item #: i_220310Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Syrah Wild Mountainside was made with about one-third whole clusters and includes about 5% Viognier. Medium to deep ruby-purple, it has gorgeous aromas of smoked meats, crushed blackcurrants, mint leaves, bitter chocolate, violet and blueberries. Medium to full-bodied, it's well managed in the mouth, restrained but deeply flavored, with a fine, grainy frame and fresh, uplifted finish. About 500 cases were made."
- Item #: i_249245Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90ANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS - "Fess Parker's 2017 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is powerful and bold, with expressive savory and peppery notes that add striking shades of complexity. This is an especially rich, racy style. A touch of sweetness from American oak is a lovely accent to ripe dark cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice and grilled herb flavors."
- Item #: i_222810Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 97JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "The 2016 Syrah Estate checks in as 100% Syrah that saw a small amount of stems. It spent 18 months in 25% new French oak. Deeply colored, it displays a thrilling bouquet of smoked black fruits, violets, smoked meats, charcoal, and graphite. Deep, rich, incredibly fleshy and flamboyant, with perfect balance, it's a serious, world-class Syrah that will keep for 10-15 years."
- Item #: i_227490Bottle Size: 750mlThis is an insane value from Curt Schalchlin; the owner and winemaker of SANS LIEGE. After several years learning from and working for some of the Central Coast's most sought-after producers, Curt decided to go his own way. The wines he puts under the Sans Liege label have received lofty praise from other winemakers and consumers, and his Groundwork label is on the way to becoming one of the better values in California's Central Coast!
For his Groundwork Syrah, Curt gets fruit from three phenomenal vineyards: White Hawk, Larner, Watch Hill, and Old Potrero. More often when you see single-vineyard wines from these properties, they will cost you $30-$45 per bottle. So you can already see what a value this wine is! Couple that with the fact that he ages the wine for 18 months in a mix of new and neutral French oak (again, something that you typically fine in pricier bottlings), and you will know why this is a knockout bargain!
The wine is redolent with grilled cherries, Swiss Tobacco, raspberry brambles, rare steak, grilled peaches, pumice, evergreen forest, strawberry hard candies, mocha, cherry cola, and hints of creosote (which Todd Johnston loves!).
- Item #: i_274400Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94Russell From is the owner, winemaker, and sole employee of Herman Story wines. Russell is talented in the cellar, and has a keen eye for what a vineyard can and cannot do. What does this mean?...It means you have one of the more talented winemakers from Paso Robles and Santa Barbara bringing some of the most exciting wines!
Russell's Nuts and Bolts is 100% Syrah from some of the more pretigious vineyards in California's Central Coast, including Bien Nacido, White Hawk, and Shadow Canyon. His tasting notes read: "After several steins of lager last night, it's a miracle the man is standing, let alone baking some of the best damn sweet rolls you'll ever taste. He shut down the bar at two and was warming up his ovens at four, blasting German death metal and whistling along. Approach the counter, you'll get a grunt and a nod, but never a smile. Behind him, the ruins of his drunken experiments – berliners full of black garlic, prosciutto-wrapped canale, fennel scones. Mere hours ago his tattooed arms were braced against sticky bars and wrapped around gyrating bodies, but now he's serving espresso, brown sugar strudel, and black licorice cookies. Does he ever sleep? Is he still drunk? You might never know, but when you bite into that flaky croissant, does it really matter?"
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "More inky purple-colored, the 100% Syrah 2017 Nuts and Bolts was brought up 18 months in 83% new French oak. Tons of meaty, barbecue, spice, chocolate, and assorted dark fruits emerge from the glass, and this puppy packs a punch on the palate, with full-bodied richness, a stacked mid-palate, ripe, sweet tannins, no hard edges, and a rocking finish. Drink this meaty, spicy, peppery powerhouse of a Syrah over the coming 7-8 years."
- Item #: i_230210Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "Of these three offerings from Horsepower, the 2015 Syrah The Tribe Vineyard will require the most time, as it's the most tight-knit at this early stage, slowly unwinding in the glass with savory aromas of raw cocoa, tapenade, nori and ripe blackberries. On the palate, it's full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a rich chassis of satiny structuring tannins and a layered, umami-laden core of fruit. At 13.6% alcohol, it's also beautifully balanced."
- Item #: i_230830Bottle Size: 750mlHug Cellar’s wines are wines that are truly “made in the vineyard”. Handcrafted cultivation by these dedicated growers, and gentle winemaking in the cellar, produce wines that are rich and intense in their aromas, textures and flavors. There is very little manipulation in the small lot winemaking at Hug Cellars. We utilize whole cluster and indigenous yeasts in our fermentations. This fosters wines that reflect the pure expression of these unique vineyards.
- Item #: i_246270Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2018 Syrah (Santa Barbara County) is superb. Rich, deep and fleshy, this striking, absolutely delicious Syrah has so much to offer. Blueberry, violet, lavender, chocolate, spice, licorice and black pepper capture the essence of cool-climate Syrah. The 2018 is an irresistible appellation-level wine that punches well above its weight. What a knock-out!"
- Item #: i_232480Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 99JEB DUNNUCK 99 POINTS - "It's always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County. Located in Ballard Canyon AVA, they pull only from their estate vineyard (planted on incredibly sandy soils) and make a wide range of cuvées, from a red and white Bordeaux blends, to a 100% Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a number of terrific Rhône blends. The common thread is incredible quality."
"Unquestionably the star of the show is the 2014 La Sangre de Jonata, and it's a more finesse driven, elegant, cool climate example of the cuvee than normal. Reminding me of an Hermitage from Bessards, it offers gorgeous notes of blackberries, cassis, leather, scorched earth and pepper. Possessing full-bodied richness, firm, polished tannin and a focused finish, it will be more approachable that most vintage of this cuvee, yet I still wouldn't touch bottles for 3-5 years. If you must drink a bottle over the coming couple of years, give it a 2-hour decant."
- Item #: i_232280Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 100 PointsStarted by Charlie Banks and Stan Kroenke of Screaming Eagle, the Jonata wines epitomize what is possible when one truly has the dedication to producing only the best! The vineyards are located near other notable vineyards such as Larner and Stolpman in Ballard Canyon. This limestone rich valley runs north/south, bisecting the Santa Rita Hills AVA from the rest of the Santa Ynez Valley. Matt Dees has been the talented winemaker behind the wines since their debut vintage in 2004, teaming up these days with Sonoma County native Drew Pickering as his assistant winemaker. This is one of the most stunning Syrahs we have had in quite a while out of California! It is a bold Syrah that is packed with powder, yet still retains elegance and charm...but it won't last long!
JEB DUNNUCK 100 POINTS - "Even better than the crazy-good 2007, the 2015 La Sangre de Jonata is sheer perfection in a glass and up with the finest Syrahs ever made in California! Checking in as a blend of 97% Syrah and 3% Viognier, aged in barrel, its saturated purple color is followed by out of this world aromatics black raspberries, smoked earth, graphite, game, violets and freshly crushed rock-like minerality. Possessing huge concentration, building tannin, and yet a seamless, ethereally pure texture, it needs 2-4 years of bottle age to become approachable. It is unquestionably the finest vintage for this cuvée today and hats off to the team at Jonata for this beauty!"
- Item #: i_232300Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94+Jeb Dunnuck: 94Owned by Stanly Kroenke, the same gentleman that owns Screaming Eagle, Jonata has catapulted itself to the forefront of Santa Barbara County winemaking! Their vineyards are sustainably farmed, the wines routinely received high scores from the critics, and it was their "Todos" blend that really struck a chord with us this year! "Todos" translates to everything, and no, Jonata didn't just blend every single barrel of the leftovers. There were fantastic barrels of Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot, etc., so winemaker Matt Dees did blending trials with specific quantities of each varietal, and for the past few years, Todos has been an incredible wine for the money! It has earned 93 points from Wine Advocate and is a great way for consumers to sample the "house style" at a fraction of the price of the top bottlings.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94+ POINTS - "Blended of 47% Syrah, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 3% Sangiovese and 2% Viognier, the 2014 Todos Proprietary Red Wine reveals a medium to deep garnet-purple color and a pronounced blackberries, blueberry pie and cassis-scented nose with an Indian spices and black pepper-laced undercurrent, plus a waft of lavender. Soft, medium-bodied, perfumed and elegant in the mouth, this finely crafted beauty offers great seamlessness and harmony, finishing long and spicy."
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "It's always a fun tasting with winemaker Matt Dees and his team, and they continue to keep this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Santa Barbara County. Located in Ballard Canyon AVA, they pull only from their estate vineyard (planted on incredibly sandy soils) and make a wide range of cuvées, from a red and white Bordeaux blends, to a 100% Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and a number of terrific Rhône blends. The common thread is incredible quality."
"Graphite, pencil, lead, smoked earth, tobacco and assorted dark fruits emerge from the 2015 Todos, and it's its usual, crazy blend of just about every varietal. This beautifully pure, fresh, focused blend has fine tannin and a great finish, and is another stunner from this estate. The full blend is 56% Syrah, 14% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot, 10% Sangiovese, 7% Petite Sirah, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Viognier."