The Rhone Report

Jeb Dunnuck-November 2010

Consistently one of my favorite producers, this lineup of 05s was a joy to taste and drink through. These distinctive, unique wines should not be missed.

2009 Ojai Viognier Roll Ranch Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County) $24
Very steely and mineral laced, the 2009 Ojai Viognier Roll Ranch Vineyard exhibits brilliant clarity and focus on the nose, with fresh pear, lime, and wet stone aromas jumping from the glass. Fleshing out in the glass, this picks up more herb and citrus underlying aromas. Medium bodied on the palate, the wine has juicy fruit, racy acidity, and a long, focused finish. Shows class and solid length on the finish, but there‟s lots of tangy acidity present. This holds it together though with solid fruit and an overall juicy, enjoyable profile. (88 pts.)

2007 Ojai Syrah Santa Barbara County (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County) $30
Youthful and exuberant, the 2007 Ojai Syrah Santa Barbara County oozes fruit and shows decadent blackberry and currant fruit, pepper, charcoal and gravel aromas on the nose. These lead into a medium to full bodied wine that possesses gorgeous purity of fruit, a rich, full texture, solid balance and a long, clean finish. Seriously impressive, this is delicious now, but has enough backbone to keep it drinking well for a decade. (91 pts.)

2005 Ojai Syrah Melville Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Rita Hills – Sta. Rita Hills) $50
The 2005 Ojai Syrah Melville Vineyard is still very primary and needs a good decant to really shine. Slightly raw and disjointed on the first night, this was beautiful on the second day, showing pure aromatics of cassis and blackberry liqueur, dried coffee, pepper, underbrush and plenty of earthy, mineral like notes. It‟s actually a fairly large scaled wine but it pulls it off in style. Medium to full bodied with beautiful purity of fruit, fresh, clean acidity and a light, classy texture that carries the finish, this outstanding wine should be left alone for another 3 to 5 years and then consumed over the following decade. (93+ pts.)

2005 Ojai Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast) $45
Mixed with a touch of Viognier, the 2005 Ojai Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard is a beautiful, surprisingly supple Syrah that shows fantastic dark fruit aromas of blackberry and plum that are supported by smoky earth, chocolate and gravel aromas on the nose. Medium to full bodied on the palate, the wine has a deep, full mid-palate, a smooth, voluptuous texture, and a long, rich finish. I love the balance to the wine and it shows fantastic integration of fruit, acidity, and tannin. Given how approachable this is, I wouldn‟t hesitate to open bottles now, but it should continue to drink well for 10 or more years. (92 pts.)

2005 Ojai Syrah Thompson Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County) $38
Much more powerful and edgy than the Roll Ranch Vineyard, the 2005 Ojai Syrah Thompson Vineyard is loaded with blackberry and black currant fruit, smoked earth, spiced meat and graphite. This opens up in the glass and shows beautiful minerality with solid complexity. On the palate, the wine is rich and concentrated, showing loads of ripe fruit sitting on a structured, solidly built wine. Fine grained tannin shows on the finish, and this should be cellared for another 3 to 5 years and then consumed over the following decade or longer. This was even better on day two and it‟s a beautiful wine that blends loads of fruit with awesome structure and cut. (94 pts.)

2005 Ojai Syrah White Hawk Vineyard (USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Barbara County) $35
Denser than the Melville, the 2005 Ojai Syrah White Hawk Vineyard shows an earthy, smoky profile with grilled meats, pepper, and a touch of asphalt supporting loads of chocolaty berry fruit. While ripe, this stays very pure and focused. Medium to full bodied with rich, almost decadent fruit, a solid mid-palate and good acidity, this is very enjoyable now but should also age gracefully over the next 10 to 15 years. (93 pts.)


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