Santa Maria Valley
Almost thirty years ago Bob Lindquist of Qupe Wine Cellars harvested the first syrah from Bien Nacido Vineyard—before that time no one thought syrah could ripen in such a cool spot. I remember tasting the wine in Bob’s cellar in 1988 and being struck by its greatness. It became clear to me that the best place to plant a particular grape varietal is at its climatic extreme—where it has difficulty ripening. These spots where vines struggle to get their fruit ripe before the end of the season also seem to be where they develop their fullest character. Warmer locations are ok, but in cool spots the time between veraison (the French term for berry softening) and harvest is as much as a month longer, so there is more time for aromas, flavor and color to develop.
This 2013 is striking and to enjoy its racy character now, it should be pared with savory meats—lamb is my recommendation. It’s going to have a long life and probably will begin revealing itself in 5 to 7 years, and certainly will last for 20.
Blend: 100% Syrah | Alc: 13.0% | Vinification: traditional open top fermentation with 15% whole clusters | Barrel Aging: 20 Months in French Oak, 30% New | Total Production: 374 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2013 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is pure class. Rich, seamless and inviting, yet with vibrant beams of salinity and tannin beneath, the 2013 stands out because of its impeccable balance. Nothing is out of place. Cool-climate peppery, gamy notes add an attractive upper-register. Lavender, violets and inky blue/purplish fruit are infused into the layered, vivid finish. With time in the glass, the 2013 develops a super-appealing feel of vertical structure. The 2013 is very young. It is also very beautiful.”- AG 95 Points