Santa Maria Valley

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Twenty five years ago Bob Lindquest 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 and being struck by its greatness and it became clear to me that the best place to plant a particular grape varietal is at its climatic extreme. In spots where vines struggle to get their fruit ripe before the end of the season also seems to be where they develop their fullest character. Warmer locations are ok, but in cool spots there is a long time between veraison (the French term for berry softening) and harvest, so there is more time for aromas, flavor and color to develop.

This 2008 Syrah from Bien Nacido’s Z block started out as a mean tannic monster, and to tame it we left the wine in barrel for over two years. And after bottling it has had another three years to mellow out more, but it hasn’t! What you have hear a full throttle monster that is in dire need of a prime grade steak, all that fatty goodness is needed to marry with this bold wine. And if you are planning on drinking this puppy soon be sure to decant the bottle first and let it sit out for an hour—your diligence will pay off in spades, because it will open up into a delicious drink. On the other hand if you have real patience put this wine away for a decade and you will be well rewarded, it’s got everything needed to age and improve for years.

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alc: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 16 Months | Total Production: 119 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Bright purple. Spicy black and blue fruits and potpourri on the intensely perfumed nose. A spicy quality gains strength with air and carries onto the palate, adding complexity to the sweet blackberry and cherry compote flavors. Notes of white pepper and candied violet linger on the long, impressively nervy finish. I really like this wine’s vibrancy and precision. Tolmach thinks that it’s destined for a long, slow evolution in bottle.” – JR 93 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“Gorgeous depth and polish make the 2008 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard a standout. With a purity to the fruit that is compelling, this is a bolder, more fruit-forward style than the Melville. Today, the full range of aromatic nuances has yet to develop, but I see tremendous promise here.” – AG 93 Points