Santa Barbara County

This one is not a food wine; it is the whole meal! Our section of Thompson Vineyard is at the top of the hill, and that, combined with the extra leaf-pulling and crop-thinning that we did, turned out to be important in cool 1999. That last little warm spell we had in late October was just enough to take these grapes to super ripeness. With a larger crop, the grapes would never have ripened sufficiently. This wine is the gem of the vintage, and showing off well 1999's attributes.

In any vintage, if you have a warm enough location, you can make a monster wine. But it takes a special vintage and a special spot to achieve the balance necessary for great wine. Whether this wine is great can certainly be debated, but we are very happy with it, and all the conditions were right at Thompson in 1999. This wine displays the vineyard-specific aromas of coffee, chocolate and smoke and is very rich in the mouth. That richness is balanced by lots of tannin and reasonable acidity, which will allow this syrah to age gracefully for many years.