Santa Barbara County

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This vineyard is planted on hillsides of pure sand in Cat Canyon near Los Alamos. The syrah vines struggle to survive since sand can hold neither nutrients nor water well. The production is absurdly low. In fact, these are almost always the most expensive syrah grapes we purchase. The wine that’s made from this spot is as unique as the vineyard looks. An intense but lovely red berry character is followed by an intriguing seaweed-iodine spiciness–this aromatic association exists perhaps because the soil here is an ancient seabed. In any case, it’s quite unique. The tannins are copious, but super-fine textured. Being one canyon closer to the ocean than Thompson Vineyard, the climate is just cool enough that we never have to worry about the acidity level of the grapes; there is always a zesty tang to this wine that keeps it lively.

The fruit was destemmed and chilled to 45˚F. After a six day cold soak the native yeast began fermenting the sugars into alcohol. We punched down (mixed) the grapes three times a day in the initial phase of fermentation. As the yeast produced alcohol, we decreased the number of punch downs to avoid extracting too much tannin. When the fermentation was complete the wine was pressed into French oak barrels, 20% of which were new.

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alc: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 19 Months | Total Production: 196 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzers International Wine Cellar

“Inky purple. Powerful, intensely aromatic nose combines cassis, licorice, cured tobacco and black olive. Layered, complex and deep, with spicy blackberry, blueberry and cherry fruit flavors complemented by espresso, violet and candied licorice. Finishes with pungent dark berry flavors and bitter chocolate and mineral notes that build with aeration.” -JR 92 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“The 2008 Syrah White Hawk is one of the more medium-bodied Syrahs in this lineup. It shows lovely varietal nuance and length to match its understated personality. Plums, herbs and tar come together nicely on the expressive finish.” – AG 92 Points