Upper Ojai, Ventura County
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Of all our syrahs this is the one from the warmest climate site and always comes with a caveat. How does one find the specific varietal expression when the vines are not planted in their native latitude? Well, this is an issue that is confronted in France as well, not so much having to do with latitude but with climatic conditions—the celebrated examples of syrah are grown exclusively in cool northern Rhone, but there are prominent wines coming from the south and they make vastly different expressions of syrah.
In the case of Roll Ranch the warm climate gives the wine power in the form of tannins and alcohol but also a density and tightness that can take years to resolve itself. With this in mind we have actively tried through winemaking to bring finesse to this brooding beast. Each year we augment the thick fruitiness that is characteristic of Roll by co-fermenting a small amount of viognier with the syrah, and this contributes a subtle white flower perfume. Additionally, in the last few years we have been using a substantial portion of whole clusters in the fermentation which brings a woodsy, resinous background reminiscent of nutmeg or cedar.
The 2011 vintage, because of a cool and long growing season, infused the wine with great intensity, maturity and also freshness. The combination made for a wine of sheer power that will reveal those more subtle layers we have built in with time.
Blend: 98% Syrah 2% Viognier | Alc: 14.5% | Vinification: 14% New French Oak | Barrel Aging: 18 Months | Total Production: 232 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“Brilliant ruby. Smoky, mineral-accented cherry and blackberry on the deeply perfumed nose. Vibrant, tightly wound black and blue fruit flavors pick up floral pastille and cracked pepper nuances with air. Taut and densely packed, finishing with noteworthy energy and length and harmonious tannins. This is still a baby. ” –JR 92 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2011 Syrah Roll Ranch is terrific and this warmer site obviously did just fine in this cooler vintage. Rich, concentrated and textured, with lots of ripe currants, chocolate, leather, roasted herbs and meatiness, it’s full-bodied, polished and layered on the palate, with a good mid-palate and sweet tannin. This is a rich, sexy and voluptuous release from this team that will have 10-15 years of longevity.” – JD 94 Points