Santa Maria Valley
This wine is much like the 2008 in so many ways and yet it’s so different. Similar in that it’s unmistakably from Bien Nacido, full of the spicy, herbal notes that are the hallmark of that spot, and different because while the 2008 is wild, animal and tannic, this 2009 is direct and pure and the structure of the wine is soft and accessible and easy to drink right now. Why the difference? Truthfully it’s just vintage variability. While it may never rain in southern California, summer and fall temperatures vary dramatically from year to year as does the amount of wind and fog—and those environmental conditions affect grapes and the wine made from them. Luckily we almost never have “bad years” where weather conditions severely compromise grape quality, but we certainly see huge differences in how wines from a particular vineyard taste from year to year.
At this time (January 2014) just the slightest hint of pretty French oak pokes out when you pour a fresh glass of this full bodied wine. Accompanying the wood tones are lovely sassafras notes and very ripe cherry aromas. This is a rich wine that is delicious to drink right now either with or without food, and it has a freshness that is enticing. It has all the stuff needed to age on for years, but why bother when it is so good now?
Blend: 100% Syrah | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 16 Months | Total Production: 187 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“A deep, inky wine, the 2009 Syrah Bien Nacido completely saturates the palate with blue/blackish fruit. Savory notes appear over time, but the 2009 remains dominated by its power, depth and structure. Not a shy wine by any means, the 2009 is going to require at least a few years in bottle, but it is striking, even today.” – AG 96 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2009 Syrahs are impressive across the board and a significant step up from his 2008s. Starting off, the 2009 Syrah Bien Nacido is a classic example of the vineyard with its deep, dark and smoky fruit, toasted nut, pepper, mineral and underlying meatiness. This medium to full-bodied beauty has brilliant detail and focus on the palate, with superb mid-palate concentration and layers of tannin that frame the finish. It’s knockout stuff and will have 10-12 years of longevity.” – JD 95 Points