Santa Barbara County

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White Hawk vineyard produced its first crop in 2000.  This vineyard is planted on hillsides of pure sand in the wine we made from those grapes was so bizarre that I chose to blend it into our Santa Barbara County bottling. The unusualness of its expression of syrah scared me that year, but I began to understand it a bit better by 2001 when we begun bottling it as a single vineyard wine. What I didn’t understand at the time was that great vineyards have large personalities and nobody’s ever made a great wine from a vineyard that is pleasant and consensual. This was an important lesson to learn, and it has been great fun to see White Hawk’s fascinating iodine and seaweed aromatics express themselves through the vintages. The most compelling wines are produced in years where we catch the fruit at the optimal ripeness, the point where the grapes are sweet but still fresh and peppery. In 2009 we found that magic balance and produced a wine that will delight the senses for many years—great today, but greater in another decade!

Blend: 100% Syrah | Alcohol: 14.5% | Vinification: 20% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 19 Months | Total Production: 187 cases

Press Reviews

Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar

“Opaque purple.  Smoky black and blue fruits on the perfumed nose.  Ripe, palate-coating cherry compote and blueberry flavors are enlivened by juicy acidity and notes of black pepper and fresh flowers.  Weighty but lithe, with excellent finishing clarity, supple tannins and lingering spiciness.” – JR 93 Points

Antonio Galloni’s Vinous

“The 2009 Syrah White Hawk is a little more subtle than the Bien Nacido, but, it, too has tons of fruit. Here it is the wine’s structure and sheer power that stand out most. Hints of tobacco, new leather and cedar add complexity on the intense finish. Stylistically, the White Hawk places more importance on varietal aromatics than the Bien Nacido, but it also has just a touch less depth in its fruit, which exposes the tannins a bit more. Still, there is a lot to admire in this outstanding, beautifully crafted Syrah.” – AG 95 Points

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“Showing more fruit, with an essence of blackberry, flowers, toasted bread and roasted meat-styled bouquet, the 2009 Syrah White Hawk flows onto the palate with superb purity, medium to full-bodied richness and a seamless, elegant feel. It’s a big Syrah, yet beautifully done.” – JD 93 Points