Upper Ojai, Ventura County
Our 2014 Roll Ranch Syrah comes from the third consecutive drought vintage in California, which was accompanied by fairly relentless warmth in this already warm site. I’m elated to say that in spite of those conditions this Syrah is one of the finest that we’ve produced in 20 years of making Syrah from this vineyard!
What served us well this vintage was that the heat came steady without any wild heat waves. Heat waves can shut down the vines temporarily, and burn off both acidity and delicate aromas, so without any huge temperature swings the Syrah stayed vibrant and complex in spite of the overall warmth.
So the 2014 is copiously aromatic: a core of spicy dark cherry and ripe plum is well peppered with dusty, earthy mocha notes, and the smidge of Viognier in the fermentation helps propel higher-toned floral aromas. No doubt, this is a gutsy and virile wine, yet it’s chiseled with no excess weight or grit.
That’s partly because we’ve been using higher and higher amounts of whole cluster in our Roll Ranch fermentations, as it augments the exuberant fruit with some spicier flavors, and gives more evenly distributed and elegant tannins. Still, per usual this Roll Ranch Syrah will start showing its best after about ten years of aging—though when young it’s just dazzling with a well-marbled cut of grilled meat!
Blend: 98% Syrah 2% Viognier | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: Barrel fermented in French Oak, 15% New | Barrel Aging: 16 Months | Total Production 290 Cases
“Smoking good, the 2014 Syrah Roll Ranch is up with my favorite vintage of this cuvée. Seeing more and more whole cluster, it offers beautiful blueberry, violets, and pepper in an elegant, yet opulent style that’s just a joy to drink. ” – JD 96 Points
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2014 Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard is defined by its implosive, reticent feel. Inward and totally shut down, the 2014 will need quite a bit of time to be at its most expressive. Today, it is the wine’s persistence and sheer thrust that stand out most. The 2014 was done with 75% whole clusters. Drops of co-fermented Viognier round out the blend.” – AG 94 points