Santa Maria Valley

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White Hawk is becoming a favorite of mine. The vineyard, planted on an ancient seabed, seems to grow magically—it doesn’t matter much what the grower does–the vines have their own rhythm.  Early in the season the vines take off with a lot of vigor and I always worry that there is too large a crop, but by mid-July the basal leaves on the canes begin to yellow, the vines stop growing, and what seemed like an abundant crop ripens into a tiny harvest. This vineyards’ growing habit is directly attributable to porous sandy hillside soils that can’t hold on to moisture or nutrients. These growing conditions make a wine that is consistently rich and concentrated. This 2006 drinks well now, possessing aromas of very ripe blackberries and sandalwood spice, with flavors that are reminiscent of fresh sweet/tart plums. There is an underlying spiciness that is intriguing, I find it charming.

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 18 Months | Total Production: 239 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Glass-staining purple. A wild, highly perfumed and exotic bouquet exudes candied dark berries, spicecake, potpourri and pungent herbs. Smells like a head shop crossed with a bakery. Lush and creamy in texture, with sappy red and dark fruit flavors and a strong floral undertone. Becomes spicier with aeration, picking up star anise and mace notes that carry through a long, intensely perfumed finish. This is pretty impressive right now. You might be able to seduce hot or not-so hot hippie chicks with this wine; at least you’d get to drink it if your plot failed you yet again.” – JR 93 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Wine Advocate #190 Aug 2010

“Among the most saturated colored is the 2006 Syrah White Hawk Vineyard. While slightly more restrained, it possesses the same stylistic aromatic and flavor profile as the Thompson Vineyard. In fact, all of these Syrahs are nearly the same size and possesses similar styles, making one wonder if the winemaking has become too formulaic. That said, the quality remains very high, but there are few differences among the cuvees.

This is a special group of Syrahs from Adam Tolmach’s Ojai Vineyard. Moreover, prices have remained stable, so consumers should be standing in line to buy these wines.” – RP 92 Points

Wine Advocate #177 Jun 2008

“This wine is scheduled to be bottled over the next few months. The medium to full-bodied 2006 Syrah White Hawk Vineyard exhibits scents of spring flowers, crushed rocks, black fruits, pepper, and a meaty character.

Tasting through three vintages of Adam Tolmach’s Syrahs is an education in how different these three years were in Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara County. 2004 was a warm year, 2005 was a cool year with high yields and good acids, and 2006 was a challenging vintage that required substantial work in the vineyards as well as tremendous patience at the end when it appeared a freakish hot spell might ripen everything at once. 2005 is a very strong vintage at Ojai, and all of the single vineyard offerings were deeper and richer than their 2006 counterparts.” – RP 89-91 Points


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