Upper Ojai, Ventura County
Roll Ranch is unusual in my experience. Most warm climate vineyards have no problem ripening fruit, the issue is whether they can produce balanced wines. Most vineyards in warm sites make grapes with too much sugar and too little acidity, the resulting wines are often awkward. I don’t know if it is the magic that vineyard guru Martin Ramirez performs or whether the Roll site, under the dramatic striated cliffs of mighty Topa Topa Mountain is fortuitously endowed, but somehow this vineyard produces a singular and exciting syrah every year. And we have noticed that as the vineyard ages (first crop was in 1995) it is producing better and better quality grapes. I am particularly thrilled with this 2009, there is a freshness and tension that is riveting.
The Roll syrahs have always needed some cellar time before they are at their best, and I think drinking them at about 10 years of age is about right, however this 2009 is quite precocious now. There is a beguiling aroma of crushed raspberries and blackberries with discreet woodsy notes poking through the effusive fruit. The flavors are explosive; a rich round attack is followed by very fine textured and soft tannins. The flavors linger on the palate and finish with a nice bitter-chocolate quality. It is delicious now, and will age effortlessly for years to come.
Blend: 98% Syrah, 2% Viognier | Vineyard: Roll Ranch | AVA: California | Alcohol: 15.0% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 17 Months | Total Production: 190 Cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Deeply pitched cherry, plum and dark chocolate aromas show very good ripeness and power. Broad, chewy dark fruit flavors stain the palate and are honed by tangy acidity. Shows distinct structure but doesn’t come off hard. Finishes on a smoky note, with gripping tannins, strong thrust and excellent persistence.” – JR 92 Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2009 Syrah Roll shows the distinct personality of this relatively warm site. Waves of blue/blackish fruit, tar, licorice menthol emerge as the voluptuous 2009 Roll shows off its personality. There is plenty of up-front appeal, but just a touch less complexity within the context of the other Syrahs in the range. Adam Tolmach adds that the time between veraison and harvest is on the short side, which may partly explain why the aromatics are a bit less developed here.” – AG 93 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Always one of Adam’s richer, fleshier wines, the 2009 Syrah Roll Ranch is a glass-stainer and dishes out notions of plum, lavender, spice, violets and spring flowers on the nose. Rich, concentrated and full-bodied, it’s perfectly balanced and has ripe tannin and good acidity. From a hot region located around the town of Ojai, it’s a superb Syrah and will have 15 years or more of longevity.” – JD 94 Points